Knit booty call
I left my husband for a co-worker I was having an affair with, and accidentally got pregnant. He wasn't thrilled, but manned up and married me. Sex soon dried up. We haven't had it for two years! He never hugs me, never says he loves me. I kissed him and he recoiled, saying I was "in his space." I asked why he married me. He said, "I never wanted to or to be a father, but now I have to deal with both." I know he isn't cheating (I always know where he is). I told him he was setting me up for an affair. He said, "Do what you need to do." I started sleeping with my ex-husband — until his wife found out. My girlfriends say I should leave, that children are resilient, but I'm almost 40, and my 5-year-old son adores his father. We don't fight, but we don't talk, either, and he won't do anything with me unless our son's involved. I'm trying not to get jealous over their relationship. — Not Miserable, Not Happy
This little boy isn't in your lives because you walked out on the porch one day as a stork in a UPS outfit was dropping him off in a basket: "Gotta sign for this kid, lady. And I think he needs his diaper changed. And soccer camp, a pricey math tutor and a college education."
Since you aren't 11 and sneaking cigarettes behind the elementary school dumpster when you should be in sex ed, you know very well what happens when Mr. Sperm and Miss Egg have a meet 'n greet. If you really, really want to prevent it, you get an IUD and bring in ye olde latex windsock for backup. But, I'm guessing you gambled that having a kid would move your relationship to the next level.
And lookie here, it did: into bitterness, envy and resentment. Your husband's paying big-time for his own cavalier approach to birth control: the unspoken understanding that he was up for a few hot minutes in the office supply closet, not 21 years in a suburban tract home in a pretty good school system.
Terribly sorry you aren't getting any, and that it's awful chilly in there, but it isn't like you bought a new purse that didn't quite have the pockets you need. Your right to be all about you ended the day another human being came out of your body.
Those so-called "resilient" children of parents who've split up have the worst outcomes across the board — in everything from school performance to emotional stability to their own relationships as adults. Unless your home life is so ugly that your kid would be better off if you divorced, you and Frosty need to "do what you need to do" to make this work the best you can.
Although he was as big a boob as you were about birth control, your best chance of thawing him a little is expressing remorse for sucking him into this situation. Give him props for what a great dad he's been, and ask him to team up with you to do right by your kid. This isn't about getting him from "you're in my space" to "you're the light of my life," but getting him to a couples therapist so you can figure out how to be a couple of loving (or at least friendly) roommates raising a kid together.
This kid, like all kids, deserves a fairytale childhood: parents who make him believe he was born because Mommy and Daddy loved each other sooo much! ... not because they were all "Gee whiz, we had no idea that could happen from a toilet seat!"
The dark side of the spoon
I've been on and off all year with a guy who'd just ended a 10-year relationship. He always acted skittish about getting attached. After two months apart, we started seeing each other again last week. He's suddenly saying stuff like "I just want to hold you." Is this a sign he wants a serious relationship? — Hopeful
A Florida woman sold her grilled cheese sandwich on eBay for $28,000 after spotting the Virgin Mary on it — well, how the Virgin Mary might look as played by Charlize Theron in a trench coat and a finger wave. People manage to see whatever's meaningful to them, whatever tells the story that makes them feel good. You, for example, have a week of "I just want to hold you," and never mind that year of "I just want to hold you at arm's length." Yank off your hope-colored glasses, and let time tell you what's what: whether he spent two months thinking about what you mean to him — or two seconds coming up with a cuddly spin on "With this much tequila in me, you'll be lucky to get a firm hug."