I’m a happily married female professional who frequently travels alone for business. It’s not unusual for me to sit at the hotel bar for a drink or dinner and people watch. I welcome conversation as these trips can be lonely and tedious. Men frequently talk to me, which is fine in theory. The problem is these guys think speaking with them means I want to sleep with them. I wear my wedding ring and make frequent references to my husband, but this doesn’t deter the blatant sexual advances. When I turn them down they get angry and accuse me of “false advertising.” The men are typically married themselves! I don’t want to lock myself in my room all the time, but is going to a bar alone “false advertising”?
— Just Likes To Chat
Apparently every stud on the road selling widgets adopts the unofficial Secret Service motto: Wheels Up, Rings Off. We’ve recently learned how an alcohol-fueled conversation between attractive strangers can lead to misunderstandings, at least at the Hotel Caribe in Colombia. But just because guys at the bar are hoping to get lucky does not mean you should be forced into purdah. It could also be that your suitors have seen “Up in the Air” too many times and assume friendly female road warriors just want to have a certain kind of fun. There is no implied contract in your shooting the breeze with a fellow traveler. But after a drink or two, you may want to get your dinner at a table, and people watch from behind a book.
Last week my husband left his Facebook page up, and I saw a conversation between him and a friend during which my husband disclosed that he is an atheist but asked his friend to say nothing to me about it since he believes I would divorce him over it. My husband and I have been together for five years and I just gave birth to our second son. During the course of our relationship he has represented only that he is a Christian, like myself. I don’t know what to do at this point. I have said nothing yet. We don’t go to church, and I would not say that I am very devout. However, I do wish to bring our boys up in a Christian household. Additionally, I feel betrayed by what I see as a substantial lie. Our wedding vows were taken before God, a God that he doesn’t believe exists. How should I bring up the issue and do you think talk of divorce would be overreacting?
— Feeling Betrayed
How awful to see your husband pouring out his soul — or his lack of belief in a soul — to someone else and asking the information be kept from you. But instead of thinking of this as the end of your marriage, think of it as the opportunity for a new, more honest phase. You bring this up by saying, “Honey, you left your Facebook page open and I saw the conversation about your being an atheist, and we need to talk about this.” Show him that it’s a good thing that you found out because it gives you the opportunity to be more open and honest with each other. There are many happy couples who observe different religions, or have varying degrees of belief. This can be accommodated. Since so far he’s hidden his atheism from you, it doesn’t sound as if he wants to insist his two small sons be brought up with his lack of faith. Please don’t even mention the word divorce. What a sad outcome that would be to a potentially healing revelation.
My neighbor recently adopted a dog with distinctive brown and black markings. Last week my daughter brought home a LOST DOG flyer with a picture of a dog with the exact same distinctive markings. The flyer detailed how much the owners missed their dog. I brought the flyer to my neighbor’s attention and told her I believed the dog on the flyer was the dog she adopted. My neighbor curtly told me to mind my own business and snatched the flyer from my hands. Now I’m not sure what to do. I’m 99 percent certain my neighbor’s dog is the lost dog. Should I risk being wrong and ruining my relationship with my neighbor?
— Neighbor Keeping Another Family’s Lost Dog:
You don’t have to ruin the relationship with the neighbor. You just have to call the number on the flyer, give your neighbor’s address, and say she recently adopted a dog that looks remarkably like theirs. You must know what your neighbor’s new dog looks like because she’s been out and about with it, which means anyone in the neighborhood could have noticed. If the neighbor is contacted by the people with the missing dog, then comes to you with accusations, just say you don’t want to get in the middle of a dispute she may be having with the owner of the lost dog.
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