Dear Aunt Becky…

My best friend’s husband, who is a teacher, a married man, and a father of 2, was recently arrested for having “inappropriate” email contact with a 17-year-old girl. I think it’s horrific and told my best friend my honest feelings the day the story broke.

She is now mad at me because I’m not being supportive of her hubby and thinks I’m being judgmental. Keep in mind that she and he admitted the entire thing was true. I haven’t heard from her in a week and I’m not sure what to do. I realize now I should have kept my opinion to myself.

Any idea how to get the friendship back on track? Or should I just stay away?

Oh Gentle Reader, what a fucked up situation.

I always think about the parents of mass murderers, as they go on trial. The ones that weren’t shitty parents who chained their kids to a wall, you know? The parents who genuinely did a good job, but whose children were just born bad and ended up smashing heads in.

Then, when Judgment Day comes, you’ve got the whole world looking at you like “what did YOU DO to make such a monster?”

I think about that a lot. (I worked in juvenile prison for awhile)

In this case, no one wins. It’s terrible. I can’t imagine finding out that my husband–the father of my children–was carrying on inappropriately with a child. That’s got to be so twisted.

In this case, Gentle Reader, I think you need to put aside whatever feelings you have about your friend’s husband because what’s going with her isn’t about your feelings, and you need to apologize to her. She needs to feel less like the world is against her and more like someone is in her corner.

Her life has been turned upside down, and no matter how fucked up her husband is, this is about her. You don’t need to be supportive of him, you need to be supportive of her. Her head has got to be reeling right now. She’ll come to her senses.

If she doesn’t, well, I think it’s time to reevaluate your friendship.

What are your top ten favorite books to read to each of your kids, and why?

Now, if my children could handle reading books in a non-obsessive manner, I’d probably be able to answer this one, question, oh Internet, my Internet. But my children have sucked all joy out of each and every reading of Goodnight Moon and gnarfed the marrow from even such classics as Baby, Make Me Breakfast with their endless repetition.

I’m looking forward to getting past this particular stage with the small ones.

Benjamin loves the Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Treehouse, and Harry Potter Books and has read (I think) most of them.

I’m partial to the Dr. Seuss books, but my children can never sit still long enough to enjoy them.

*gets up to run laps around the house*

*pets the dog*

*chases the cat*

I have no idea where they get their inability to sit still from. I blame The Daver.

Okay, so I know our moms grew up during the sexual revolution and were all bra burny and such but today she’s 55. AND…when it was all going on in the 60’s and 70’s, she partook from an arms length. Don’t get me wrong, she did her fair share of The Pot, but was always well groomed and well dressed.

TODAY, however, my moms uniform is a tight cotton tee, jeans (that may or may not be from the women’s section), walmart slip-on tennis shoes, and NO BRA! She needs a bra. How on earth do I tell my mother that her melons need a sling and her wardrobe sucks? I am honestly embarrassed to go anywhere that might be even the slightest bit chilly with her.

So your mom needs an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, huh? And a complete makeover, it sounds like, because she’s sort of given up on trying to be attractive.

Well, here’s what worked for my dad, who, I should add, did NOT need a bra.

My dad, God Love Him, is a sucker for a bargain, and not because he doesn’t have money. Like, you see something on sale, and my dad is ALL fucking about it even if he doesn’t REALLY need it or if it actually like, FIT him or anything. So he was drawn to Kohl’s like a moth to flame when he realized that the store was always on sale.

I realized that my father had gone from looking like a respectable pharmacist to like Bozo the Clown’s sidekick, Joe, The Gimp (don’t feel too bad, my dad can take it. He raised me to be Your Aunt Becky, after all). It was painful to be near him because his clothes were so bright, garish, and fucking ugly.

So my brother, who shops only at Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren and I formulated a plan and one holiday we implemented it: we staged an Intervention.

“Dad,” I said very, very seriously. “Aaron and I have to talk to you. You can never shop at Kohl’s again. In fact, we’re taking all of your horrible patterned shirts and we’re donating them to some golf league somewhere.”

“What?” He gasped.

“Yes.” My brother continued soberly. “Dad, you cannot continue on like this. No one wants to be seen next to you. We all pretend like we don’t know you when we go out together.”

“You aren’t serious!” My dad was shocked.

“WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!” I cried. “My children are afraid of your clothes! Look! Mimi just puked on herself after she saw your shirt!”

He sat there, thinking. Finally he spoke, “All right. If you guys say so.”

Dave, Aaron, Joy (my sister in law) and I all simultaneously said “YES!!” so loudly that Mimi jumped.

It’s actually worked. I mean, he still teases us about it. Like today when I asked them to watch the kids so we could go shopping for some clothes for Dave, he’s all “I hear Kohl’s has a great sale going on!” But he hasn’t been back.

So maybe that’s your best course of action. An INTERVENTION.

———————

As always, Merry Pranksters, fill in where I’ve left off in the comments. And feel free to submit YOUR burning questions to Your Aunt Becky through the form on the sidebar (under Pages).

———————-

And remember, whether you’re going to BlogHer or not, we need your votes!! Aunt Becky, Marinka, Wendi, and I (of The Mouthy Housewives and Mommy Wants Vodka) have put in for a Room of our Own on how to create a successful, entertaining advice site.

So please just click here, log on to BlogHer and then click “I would attend this session” (it’s just above the title: Dear Abby 2.0). After you click it it will miraculously say “I would not attend this session.” This means that your vote for the session has been successfully registered. Thank you!

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

34 Responses to Go Ask Aunt Becky

  • Kristine says:

    Spot on with your first advice! That poor woman just needs a friend that can support her.

  • Nitza19 says:

    I don’t know much about giving advice *except* when it comes to reading, and so I have to say – Burn the “Captain Underpants” books! (When Ben isn’t looking, of course.)

  • Melissa says:

    I totally shop at Kohl’s. Is this bad all of a sudden?

  • Brianna says:

    I so totally need that all-in-one car washer/nose picker/kid spanker. So what if every third unit bursts into flames? IT’S ONLY 10 DOLLARS, YO! xD

  • Saffy says:

    Ooooh that IS a tricky one. Your friend is looking for more than just you supporting her – she expects you to support/back her hubby too? Ouch. Well, I say ouch anticipating that he hasn’t gone into some massive “I f’d up” campaign filled with honest regret and overt moves designed to gain trust and respect? If he has, that’s probably easier for you to be part of – otherwise…hmmmm…

  • Andrea says:

    My sister and I noticed that our mom needed a bra. Because you couldn’t not notice. She gave birth to 6 children and breastfed them all, come on. And at 60, she felt like she should still be wearing a soft shapeless bra without an underwire. So one day, she got in the car with us and we hijacked her and took her to our bra store. It has the creative name, “Bras That Fit.” They actually measure you there and you don’t leave the store until the puppies are lifted back where they belong. And she was cool about it — because we paid for the bras.

  • Maria says:

    To the first person, please support your friend. You have no idea what’s going on in her head. She is probably feeling guilty and responsible, and she feels every eyeball on her, judging her and her family. She probably feels like no one is on her side.

    If your local paper is one step above a tabloid (like ours is) they’ve probably been dragged through the mud further, and may even be getting threatening letters in her mailbox.

    Honestly, it may be too late if she feels you’ve passed judgement on her. But, if you value her friendship at all, apologize and be there FOR HER. Don’t comment on her husband, just support HER.

    DO you have a teenage daughter? If so, don’t allow her to be alone with your friend’s husband. That’s my advice. I am NOT condoning what he did, but I don’t have the whole story either.

  • Dana says:

    Regarding the first situation …

    There is a big difference between being supportive and condoning the “wrongs” of someone else. Being able to recognize and practice that takes a great deal of maturity.

    Being there for someone who needs you, without giving advise on the situation, is a priceless gift!

  • MamaCas says:

    For the first question….supporting someone in that situation will possibly be easier said than done. I’m currently trying to “be there” for my sister, who is in a similarly shitty situation and it is almost an impossible task.

    2nd question…..check out “Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton (she has written a lot, but this is my favorite book). And “Russel the Sheep” by Rob Scotton. Scotton also has a few other books about Splat the Cat, which are pretty cute. Karma Wilson is a fantastic author and we all love her books about Bear. “Bear Stays Up For Christmas” and “Bear Snores On” are two of our favorites. My 10 year old loved Captain Underpants, but he’s moved on to expand his horizons. Now he likes the Geronimo Stilton series.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Totally tough to do, but I’m thinking it’s possible. I hope that the first writer can try and be a friend because I’m betting that she needs a friend right about now.

  • Julie M. says:

    I’ve pretty much been in the first writer’s friend’s shoes (does that make sense?), and it’s a lot to wrap your head around. Here’s someone you promised to stick with for better or for worse, and it turns out that “the worse” was something you couldn’t have imagined in your wildest dreams. Like your life belongs in a Law & Order episode or something.

    She needs space and time to sort it all out, and I would recommend giving her that, while not disappearing. Try to do the kinds of things together that you did before, what ever that was. And if you are close to her children, be there for them as well. They don’t have nearly the life experience to make sense of this, and they need as many strong adults as possible to help them.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Yes. Exactly. I cannot imagine being there. It’s got to be excruciating.

      • Julie M. says:

        It is excruciating, and I think I spent a year (almost literally) in psychological shock. And if it weren’t for my friends, I’d probably still be there. One of the hardest things is reconciling the behavior with everything else you knew about the person.

        The most helpful things people did were pretty simple: going through boxes of old photos to find some for my kids for a school project so that I didn’t have to deal with the avalanche of feelings, meeting me for coffee after a particularly difficult conversation with my (now ex) husband, going with me to apply for free lunch at the school.

        And to the OP, remember that your feelings about this man are honest and important, but you need to process them with someone other than your friend. My family expected me to be their sounding board as they dealt with their own loss in my divorce, and that was absolutely awful.

        • Your Aunt Becky
          Twitter: mommywantsvodka
          says:

          When my boyfriend cheated on me while I was pregnant with Ben, I lost almost all of my friends (they sided with him. It was a bullshit situation) and couldn’t tell any of my family because I knew their reaction would be universal. I’ve never forgotten how that felt.

          So I have a lot of empathy for you and I’m really sorry. I don’t know maybe exactly how it felt for you, but I do remember the shock and horror of it all and the feeling of betrayal of “wow, so this is what it’s like to be totally fucking alone.”

  • You’re a good advice giver outer.

    But damns. Can we get some happy funtime questions up in this joint? You’re bringing me down.

  • moonspun says:

    Your answer to the first question is spot on. Be there for the friend…
    well done, as always. And I am just laughing at the idea of your dad’s bargain clothes. Those sales at Kohl’s ARE hard to resist!

  • Steenky Bee says:

    Delurking to tell you that I definitely WILL be voting for you and am looking forward to seeing you/meeting you/making an ass out of myself because I’m so excited to see you at BlogHer.

  • Tiffany says:

    Seriously? In that first letter it sounds like her friend is only looking for her husband’s behavior to be condoned. I think you should support her as best you can, but it seems like she just wants someone to say to her that it is really no big deal and that she should still trust him. I’m not saying that you should verbally eviscerate him every time his name comes up or trash her for trying to keep her marriage together during this crisis. But it is NOT supporting your friend, to make her think that kind of behavior is acceptable and understandable, when it revolts you or the majority of the public. You can “be there” all you like for someone, but if she only wants your friendship with a “love me, love my husband” clause and won’t take any substitutes, then it may be best to move on.

  • linlah says:

    Great advice for writer #1 and I would love to have a clothing intervention for one of my friends cause dang girl those mom jeans do not do anything for her.

  • Liza says:

    Greetings from Orchid Land –
    OMI! The Bra Store… lovely sounding thing. Even with my pair harnessed in an appropriate cup, my nips still stand up. All I have to do is walk across the room… down a hall, exit my car, etc. This natural action mortified my now deceased mother no end. Even when she was in hospital for a stroke, she was freaking out and saying I wasn’t wearing a bra. The reason for her mortification – because my nips were erect and visible, she was totally in the mind-set I had not been ‘raised right’ by her. My dear wonky mom… my life choices were always reflecting back to her and her ‘pride and joy’. Oh well. Life is very curious.
    Have a great week!

  • Cara says:

    For the 1st question.

    Call your friend. Tell her you love her and are sorry for judging so quickly (even if you still believe in your judgement). She probably needs someone to talk to and that she feels she can confide in with out being judged. To her right now, her husbands actions are causing just as much judgement on her as they are on him.

  • Jaci says:

    I just came through discovering my own husband’s affair this summer. Granted, it wasn’t with a minor (it was a co-worker), but it was absolutely devastating.

    The best thing my friends could say to me? “God, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe it! What can I do to help you?” That’s it. I just needed someone to hold my hand, LISTEN, and bring over wine coolers and stupid Blockbuster rentals on the bad nights.

    The worst were friends (and family) who bashed my husband and gave me “Divorce him in a blaze of glory!” advice. Because guess what? My husband and I are reconciled. (And expecting baby #2. And very happy. And have gone through LOTS of therapy.) It’s awkward to be around those people now.

    Not saying my situation matches your Reader’s…I guess I’m just trying to warn others to tread lightly when one of their friends learns that a spouse has been unfaithful.

    In your Reader’s situation, your advice is perfect. If the BFF continues to blindly “stand by her man” despite nasty e-mails to a minor…it’s probably best to end that friendship. (Ugh. My heart goes out to that family!)

  • Kori says:

    Since I don’t believe that any sex offender can be rehabilitated, I personally wouldn’t ever be friends with either of them again. And I would question whether or not he was perhaps having inappropriate contact with my own children. And I would also be honest with my “friend,” becuase if she is choosing to stay and be supportive of a probable sex offender than she is as sick as he is and I would want nothing to do with them, ever.

  • Patty Punker says:

    omg, kohls gives their shit away. i wonder how they make any money. you could probably get 10 bras for $10 on a good sale day. and since no one would be seeing them, it would be okay.

  • Dawn says:

    From the vantage point of 53, let me say that 55 does not feel as ancient as it looks. It is a dreaful and lonely place, being older in a society that worships youth.

    That said, my 53-year old puppies NEVER leave the house without being on a leash, if you catch my drift. Because I do not want to be held responsible for knocking out small children.

    Mom definitely needs an intervention. Bless her.

  • Kristine says:

    Yikes, and I thought my situation was screwed up – I guess I can count my lucky stars that my husband isn’t cavorting with a child anyway.

  • Suzy says:

    I have nothing useful to add but I have to say…when reading things quickly, I see funny things. I had to re-read one sentence three times in order to understand that no, you had not been in cahoots with Ralph Lauren
    (“…Ralph Lauren and I formulated a plan”) and I was a little disappointed for a minute.

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