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Welcome to Dear Jane, Jezebel’s advice column.

Dear Jane,

I have a friend that I’ve known since high school who was always obsessed with having children. She got married young and was basically begging her husband to get her pregnant as soon as possible. They had some trouble, but she finally had a little girl a couple years ago.

Since then, I basically haven’t been able to have any sort of conversation with her that doesn’t involve her bringing up her kid. In text conversations, she has to send pictures of her daughter, no matter what we’re discussing. If she FaceTimes me, the camera is generally pointed at her kid for most of the conversation. It’s to the point where I rarely answer her phone calls or FaceTime requests, and will wait hours before I respond to texts.

I was recently hospitalized with bilateral pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in my lungs) and even while I’m laying in my hospital bed, dealing with some of the worst pain of my life (not to mention this being an incredibly terrifying moment for me, as someone who has always been healthy), she still sends pictures of her daughter and steers the conversation towards her.

I’m at the end of my rope. Am I being unreasonable because I’m a single woman with no children (and no real desire to have any for a while), or is she being really rude?

Please help.

She’s kind of being rude, but she’s also being herself. If she’s been obsessed with this goal since high school (yeesh!) you must’ve seen this coming, no? I mean, maybe not this version of this—which is pretty extreme—but it’s not really a surprise that she’s one of these sorts of moms.

People take to motherhood in a million ways and one of those ways is to derive all of your joy and self worth from it. Or to become obsessed with your child. Which is fine, if you don’t care about being tolerable to the adults in your life. She’s going to have to keep making babies for a long time because eventually they will all grow up and have medical emergencies and this woman doesn’t sound like she’s super into showing up during those times. But when they’re cute little babies and toddlers? Man, they’re so cute!

You also mentioned that she’s young, so I’m guessing you’re young—like in your 20s. One of the hardest lessons we get taught whether we like it or not in our 20s is that friends sometimes aren’t always your friends. Especially during major life events like marriage, births, deaths, moves, new jobs, etc. It sucks to be on your side of it because you’ve put in the emotional labor of being there for her and she’s just giving all she has to her kid right now. You must feel really lonely for her. Maybe she’ll come back around, give it time. In the meantime, since you’re not super into the kid stuff, give her a break and lean on your friends who aren’t so insufferable.


Dear Jane,

Soon after my wife and I were married, 4 years ago, I had sex with a woman at a club in Panama where I had a work assignment for a month. I promptly forgot all about it until I started the Sex Addicts Anonymous program last year. I came to realize that the problems I had with inappropriate sexual behavior ran a lot deeper than I was previously willing to admit. Although my wife knows of some of this behavior such as use of pornography and going to strip clubs, she doesn’t know about what happened in Panama.

I’m on the straight and narrow now and am fully committed to my wife in a strictly monogamous relationship. Here’s the dilemma though... SAA is a 12 step program and the 9th step is making amends to people who I have hurt. I’m not at this step yet but I’ve been wondering how to tell or even whether to tell her about the cheating. I don’t have a good feel on whether to tell her. It seems it might be very hurtful to her and that’s not the intention of the 9th step. It could also really jeopardize our marriage.

Do you have any advice?

Shady Character Undergoing Messy Bad Actor’s Guilt

As the former partner of a 12-stepper, I can confidently tell you two things:

  1. The 9th step is about making amends to those you’ve hurt, but you haven’t hurt her with this information yet, so let’s not start now.
  2. There’s a clause in the 9th step that you should not make amends if it will do more harm than good. I think this indiscretion would fit that category but only you know for certain.

Keep working your steps. When you get bored or frustrated, remember you just need to have smart feet (to get you into the room) and no other motivation. Good luck!


Dear Jane,

I have been happily dating my boyfriend for almost a year and it is safe to say we are pretty serious. My boyfriend has an interesting past and was adopted from a different country by a man who had a tough life. This man is gay and has lupus and was born into poverty. He turned his difficulties into triumphs and has adopted several children over the years. My boyfriend has only spoken praises of this man and loves him deeply. Both of us have birthdays before the holidays and we recently went out to meet with my boyfriend’s adopted father. It was the first time meeting him and I was a little nervous. This man was an absolute boor. From the beginning, he didn’t even look up when we met him in the restaurant for dinner and proceeded to talk directly to his son for about 30 minutes. I figured since they haven’t seen each other in while they were just excited to catch up. After our frosty introduction, he proceeded to discuss various topics to me while my boyfriend went to the bathroom and suddenly points out patrons who walked into the restaurant and said, “If this wasn’t our first meeting, I wouldn’t hold back but... it looks like maybe there might be a bomb strapped under that dress.” It was a pregnant Middle-Eastern woman. Before the end of the night, he put on affected “ghetto speech” and proceeded to drop the n-word several times. He drove us home and belched the entire way. It was mortifying and uncomfortable, but I put on a pleasant face for my boyfriend. I’ve been avoiding discussing the father to my boyfriend since this, but I can’t avoid the topic forever. Especially since we’re supposed to spend Thanksgiving together! I don’t know how to bring this up, especially since my boyfriend is, genuinely, the most polite, sincere, and respectful person I know. How do I tell the man I care for that his hero-in-his-eyes-father is a pig?

Sincerely,

Possible future piglet-in-law

Racists come in all shapes and sizes. I’d start the conversation by telling your boyfriend exactly what you told us—the stuff his dad said while he was in the bathroom. You can just start by saying , “Hey honey, something’s been weighing heavily on me, I’m wondering what your take on it is... “ His reaction will tell you a lot. If he says the man is a saint for adopting children and that you can’t criticize a person with an autoimmune disorder, time to reconsider how much you like this guy because that is incorrect! My guess is he knows all about it and doesn’t care enough to confront or avoid his dad, and that sucks. You’re going to have to make a choice here, but you know the right one to make.

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Have a question for Jane? Email her at dearjane@jezebel.com. Please change names and identifying info; this advice column unfortunately is not aimed at destroying lives.