DEAR AMY: My girlfriend “Wendy” and I have been living together for seven years. She has a daughter, “Ariel,” 18, who recently graduated from high school. Ariel and I always got along great, but I liked her more than I liked her mother, and I feel terrible about it. A few years into our relationship, Wendy started neglecting her health and hygiene, put on weight, wouldn’t exercise, and after a while I was no longer attracted to her. All the while, Ariel started to look great, and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I saved all my passions for Wendy, but honestly I was thinking about Ariel the whole time. Ariel and her mother never got along at all. Her mother was jealous of our relationship. When Ariel was 15, I suggested sending her to boarding school. She loved the school, and I hate to say it, but another reason I wanted her to go there was because I wanted to have a relationship with her, and I hated myself for it. I visited Ariel a few times at school. Wendy was very jealous and suspicious of Ariel for dressing provocatively. I was visiting Ariel at her school right after she turned 18, and she came on to me. Now that she is 18, she’s been telling me that she wants to have sex with me before she goes off to college. I confess, I am almost ready to take her up on it. I’d be breaking no laws. If I left Wendy, I wouldn’t suffer. Would it ruin Ariel’s life or cause her trouble later on if we have this relationship now? We won’t be living together or dating, and she’s looking forward to heading out of state to go to college soon, and I expect she’ll be dating a lot when she gets there.
Not Really Stepdad
DEAR NOT REALLY: Yes, I suspect that it would ruin “Ariel’s” life and cause her trouble later on if you have this relationship now.
But, of course, you have already messed up her life. You have groomed her since childhood by “liking” her more than her mother. You have also destroyed her relationship with her mother by rejecting the mother in favor of the girl.
Even if you would not be breaking any laws, your behavior so far has been despicable. Furthermore, like many sexual predators, you blame the victim and accuse her of coming on to you.
You say that you hate yourself for feeling this way. I hope you will let your conscience guide you now.
DEAR AMY: I have a friend whom I’ve known for almost 25 years. We met at a singles’ weekend in the Catskills. I got married four years ago, and she recently asked me: “How did you get your husband to marry you?” She also stated that the only reason I said yes to marriage was to get him away from his previous girlfriend. The last meet-up we had with her was a brief encounter on the boardwalk. She approached us and kissed him full on his mouth. Now, my question is — what would you have said to her after she did this? I texted her the next day and said, “Not to worry you, but my husband is recovering from a herpes outbreak.” Perhaps that was a little too subtle. I believe that she is sending me some unfriending signals. What do you think?
Loss for Words
DEAR LOSS FOR WORDS: I think you two are pretty evenly matched.
DEAR AMY: “Feeling Used” wrote to you about a friend who invited her and her husband to a play. Feeling Used was asked to pay full price for their $100 tickets. Later they learned that their friends had received their tickets for free, as part of a promotion. I think you misunderstood this letter. Feeling Used meant that two of the tickets were free, but the other two were full price. So, the question was whether all four should split the cost of the two tickets, or whether it was appropriate for the ones who went for free to go for free, and let their invited friends pay full price. What do you think?
DEAR WONDERING: Many people wrote to correct me, and I agree that I misinterpreted the question.
In this case, if two of the tickets were free to the couple issuing the invitation, then yes, I think the polite thing to do would be to share the cost of the full-price tickets.