DEAR AMY: I am a 40-year-old woman married to a 30-year-old man. He is sweet, intelligent, funny, passionate, hardworking and kind. When we were still dating, I became aware of his porn habit and interest in prostitutes. I’ve never had an issue with nudity or porn that wasn’t abusive toward women. This is. I was shocked and disgusted. He told me that he had used prostitutes in the past, but promised that this was history. I couldn’t figure out how my wonderful, loving, tender husband was the same guy who thought it was OK to purchase a woman like a thing and demean women when talking with his friends. I became insecure about my looks and age. I snooped a lot. We both went into therapy and two years later, we are better than ever. Then this week I learned that he has been engaging in “live” online pornography on a site that is filled with jokes about domestic violence, images of oppression and scenarios about murdering women. We had a huge fight. I got drunk (I rarely drink) and I pushed him multiple times, and kicked him. We were both horrified by our behavior, and are very contrite and apologetic. He promised me that he won’t participate in anymore websites that conflate sex and violence against women or that facilitate prostitution. Otherwise, our life together is so good, that I am trying to figure out how to be a feminist and accept that my husband isn’t. He treats me with respect, but views sexual images of women that are vile and demeaning. Can a man who is clearly aroused by prostitutes and casually enjoys jokes about killing “slutty” women be educated about sexual politics and learn not to participate in rape culture? Can a woman who feels suspicious, angry and insecure learn to let go and just enjoy her otherwise wonderful marriage?
DEAR BETWIXT: The way you present this, your husband treats you beautifully, but you have witnessed his habit of using and degrading women he’s not married to.
This is obviously the complete opposite of your stated core values. And so now you want to (somehow) educate him not to participate in rape culture.
But, why is it your job to teach your husband how not to degrade women? Shouldn’t he already know how not to degrade women?
Your duty is to take care of yourself, and in some respects, you don’t seem to have done a very good job.
Ask yourself: how does being with your husband raise you up? Why in your mind does his decent treatment of you somehow balance his degrading treatment of others?
Your determination to stay with someone you snoop on, rage at, physically abuse and whose values you deplore says much more about your low opinion of yourself than about him.
You two should double down on the counseling; I hope you mutually agree to part.
DEAR AMY: I plan to retire in two years. The problem is that I have started getting emails, phone calls (both at work and on my cellphone), as well as at least two inches of junk mail. I have found this to be the biggest intrusion in my life in more than 60 years. I do not answer my phone anymore when I don’t recognize the phone number. However, when they call me at work, I have to answer my phone. The last call I got I asked them where they got my phone number from because I am on the Do Not Call Registry. They would not disclose where they had gotten my name. Is this something I have to put up with for another two years? So how do I get this to stop?
Frustrated Future Retiree
DEAR FRUSTRATED: In researching your question, I found the information on the Federal Trade Commission’s website quite comprehensive. Check consumer.ftc.gov and do a search for “unsolicited mail.” You will be pointed toward all of the credit reporting agencies, the national Do Not Call Registry, as well as the Direct Marketing Association’s “Do not mail” list: dmachoice.org.
DEAR AMY: Our office used to be burdened with birthday gift exchanges like “Overextended’s” until a clever colleague proposed that we exchange birthday cards instead — homemade or store-bought. Everyone made an effort to find or create a card the recipient would enjoy. The result was even more festive than trinkets. Then the office supplied the cake.
DEAR CR: I LOVE this idea.