Penelope.jpg

Penelope Is In — 24 April 2013

Dear Penelope,

I am a young man in my mid-twenties and soon to be an undergraduate. A few months ago, my girlfriend wanted to know my plans for the future, and asked me for a prompt response. I was reluctant to comply and asked for time to think about it, but she has grown ever more restless, and now she says that she is ready to be with me even if I have someone else. I don’t know if she knows for sure or was just assuming, but she is right. I am indeed a liar.

I am not proud of what I have done, but I am uncomfortable with her suggestion of basically starting something serious with an offer of an open relationship. This is just one level of excessive honesty I cannot bear. I lied and covered my tracks because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by brandishing my misdeed in her face, and would want the same charity from her. I don’t know what to think about this anymore, as now I am growing suspicious of her, our relationship, and whether we could have a future. She wants an answer in about sixty days and I don’t know what to do.

The reason for my original reluctance about my girlfriend was that my mother refused to meet her, much less acknowledge her as my fiancee. My mother doesn’t like her. She advised me to focus on starting my professional career, and said that I didn’t know my girlfriend sufficiently because I spent most of time overseas for my studies. My girlfriend took this very badly and asked me to go against my mother’s wishes, but I can’t do that. My brother who did so ended up causing a lot of grief to my family and I don’t want to break my mother’s heart by also going rogue. It made me feel suspicious about my girlfriend that she would try to induce me to such action.

I am confused about to what to do next. I have all these questions in my mind and don’t want to feel guilty by giving false hopes. Should I just say no to her or try to talk my way through this, and if so, where to start ? Am I just over-thinking my girlfriend’s intentions? Should I try to talk with her about what bothers me about her? I feel that if I do talk with her and give her anything but a yes, she is going to be hurt. The only thing I know for sure is that I refuse to go against my mother’s wishes. Beyond that everything is hopelessly confused in my mind.

Regards,

A Liar

Dear Liar,

Okay, let’s break it down.

You refer to the woman in question as your girlfriend, but a) you have cheated on her, b) you have interpreted her (baffling) willingness to overlook that insult as a reason to suspect her, c) you recoil from the kind of relationship she is proposing (while not being entirely sure just what she has in mind), and d) no matter what, you will never bring her home because it would upset your mother. 

Liar, let me be frank. You don’t appear to particularly like this woman, let alone love her. You have no intention of giving her what she seems to desire, which is a committed long-term relationship. You have already been unfaithful to her, and seem to resent her very desire to be with you. Put this relationship out of its misery already.

Her feelings will indeed be hurt if you break it off, but she will (one hopes) eventually find someone who genuinely cares about and respects her. The short-term pain of a breakup, unpleasant as it is, is as nothing compared to the long-term pain she would no doubt endure trying to coax love from such stony ground.

It is your obligation to be as kind and gentle to her as you can, but this woman needs to get out of your orbit, and the sooner the better. You have already exploded the relationship by cheating, a serious matter about which I suggest you examine your conscience. You might impress upon your girlfriend, as you break up with her, that infidelity is not something she or any romantic partner should simply shrug and tolerate. By cheating on her you made yourself unworthy of her.

Once you’re on your own again, I recommend that you set your sights only on women who will meet your mother’s approval. There is nothing to be gained in leading a string of women along, none of whom you will ever bring home. If mom-sanctioned women are hard to come by, wait. Focus on your studies and give yourself a little time to mature romantically. 

Got a question for Penelope? Write to AskPenelope@ricochet.com.

Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. Neither Ricochet nor the writer of this column accepts any liability for the outcome or results of following the advice in this column. Ricochet reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity.

  1. James Stack

    Well Done!  I like the advice, like the concept of the column.  Judith, if it’s you, you have an avocation for which you’re extremely well suited. 

    Liar is, as we used to say in alky rehab, “into his head”, to near paralysis.  As Penelope suggested this guy needs to get out of his head, into his conscious  And the devotion to mother’s opinion strikes me as odd. 

  2. Foxman

    oops.. never mind 

  3. Pony Convertible

    Liar also needs to cut the cord from mommy.   Mommy may never approve of any girl he brings home.  Both my brother and I married wonderful women, and have both been happly married for over 30 years. Both of us consider our wifes to be the biggest blessings of our lives.   Mommy disliked both women until the day she died.  Some mommys’ can’t let their sons be men instead of being sons, and let them go to another women.

  4. Matthew K. Tabor

    Alright.

    Stop cheating on your girlfriends, you jerk.

    If you’ve got an issue with comfort in relationships — like whether it’s important that the girl fit into your family (I feel that way myself) — then be honest about it. There’s no shame in it; we need to be comfortable and happy.

    But this is a 25-ish year old man who doesn’t have the courage to be open and honest with someone who cares about him. Gird your loins and do something about that. Anything else is destructive *and* selfish.

  5. Franco

    The writing ability doesn’t correspond with the overall idiocy of this character. It doesn’t sound like a man wrote this, (and it could be a male, just not a man) Generally, it doesn’t ring true to me. Is this a real person?

    Secondly, since this isn’t a problem that anyone else on the planet actually has, what is the appeal? Is is voyeurism, gossip? 

  6. Foxman

     ”The only thing I know for sure is that I refuse to go against my mother’s wishes.”

    As you are obviously not yet a man, and may never be one, you have no business getting married.

  7. Franco
    Foxman:  ”The only thing I know for sure is that I refuse to go against my mother’s wishes.”

    As you are obviously not yet a man, and may never be one, you have no business getting married. · 0 minutes ago

    Gay and doesn’t know it/can’t admit it. That’s my guess. Here I am gossiping…

  8. Matthew K. Tabor

    Disagree — this is a fairly common problem, though the willingness of the girlfriend to go along with it is less common.

    Franco: Secondly, since this isn’t a problem that anyone else on the planet actually has, what is the appeal? Is is voyeurism, gossip?  · 13 minutes ago

  9. Fricosis Guy

    I second this advice. Mothers appear wiser than they are because they poison the relationship then can say: “See, I told you she was too smart/dumb, pretty/ugly, rich/poor, etc.”  They’re trying to prevent you from doing what you’re supposed to do.

    Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

    Also, I don’t like Penelope’s advice regarding the breakup.

    • You shouldn’t shouldn’t giving any advice. You should be break up and being clear about the reason: you are seeing other women and want to continue.

    • Furthermore, you should offer amend for the wrongs you have done to her without worrying about her role in the matter.
    • Finally, if you care for this woman at all, leave and don’t return her emails or calls. Leave the poor girl alone.
    Pony Convertible: Liar also needs to cut the cord from mommy.  

  10. Fricosis Guy

    My take is that he’s a scared little eaglet afraid he’ll be kicked out of the nest like big bro. He’s playing too many hands and just got his bluff called by the one worthwhile girl in the bunch.

    Most of us learn this crap in 6th grade…too bad he’s learning at 25.

    Franco

    Foxman:  ”The only thing I know for sure is that I refuse to go against my mother’s wishes.”

    As you are obviously not yet a man, and may never be one, you have no business getting married. · 0 minutes ago

    Gay and doesn’t know it/can’t admit it. That’s my guess. Here I am gossiping… · 10 minutes ago

  11. Larry3435

    Dear Liar,

    Mommy has screwed you up – possibly beyond repair.  One thing is certain – so long as you wallow in guilt about “hurting” mommy’s feelings, you will never be able to commit to a relationship.  

    Mommy hated this girl even though she never met the girl?  Mommy is never going to let you grow up if she can help it.  It is up to you to cut the cord.  Only when you become an adult will you be capable of an adult relationship.

  12. Leigh
    Fricosis Guy: I second this advice. Mothers appear wiser than they are because they poison the relationship then can say: “See, I told you she was too smart/dumb, pretty/ugly, rich/poor, etc.”  They’re trying to prevent you from doing what you’re supposed to do.

    Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

    The word in there is “wife”, not “girlfriend to whom you’re utterly uncommitted.”  There’s nothing to suggest that parents have no right to advise their children when it comes time to choose the spouse they’re going to leave them for.

    It sounds like mom’s advice was 1) not this girl — and her willingness to accept an open relationship would seem to indicate that mom was right in sensing trouble — and 2) wait and grow up.

    It doesn’t sound like mom knows about the cheating.

    From what we know, maybe mom is too involved and protective.  Or maybe respect for mom is the only thing keeping Liar from completely wrecking his life right now.

  13. Franco
    Matthew K. Tabor: Disagree — this is a fairly common problem, though the willingness of the girlfriend to go along with it is less common. · 0 minutes ago

    Franco: Secondly, since this isn’t a problem that anyone else on the planet actually has, what is the appeal? Is is voyeurism, gossip?  · 13 minutes ago

    The whole thing seems bogus to me. Why this person would seek the advice of Penelope makes no sense either. What does he expect her to say to him? It reeks of narcissism and indecision, conflicts he himself seems oblivious, and if I were an “adviser” would deem unworthy of  wider disemination. 

    If the writer admits to so many frauds and ambiguities, wouldn’t the letter itself warrant suspicion? Another question, how does anyone know published letters are actual people/actual letters? 

  14. Fricosis Guy

    I’d be with if you if Mom hadn’t already pulled the same stunt with the other brother. That’s smells like “no one is good enough for my boys but me,” which is why I went for Genesis.

    Leigh

    Fricosis Guy: I second this advice. Mothers appear wiser than they are because they poison the relationship then can say: “See, I told you she was too smart/dumb, pretty/ugly, rich/poor, etc.”  They’re trying to prevent you from doing what you’re supposed to do.

    Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

     

  15. Judith Levy, Ed.
    C
    Franco: The writing ability doesn’t correspond with the overall idiocy of this character. It doesn’t sound like a man wrote this, (and it could be a male, just not a man) Generally, it doesn’t ring true to me. Is this a real person?

    Franco: …how does anyone know published letters are actual people/actual letters? 

    The whole thing seems bogus to me. 

    Franco, you seem worried that you’re being deceived. Maybe Penelope can help you with this.

  16. Judith Levy, Ed.
    C
    James Stack: Well Done!  I like the advice, like the concept of the column.  Judith, if it’s you, you have an avocation for which you’re extremely well suited. 

    It’s very kind of you to say so. I can assure you that Penelope appreciates it very much.

  17. Matthew K. Tabor

    I don’t write the thing, so I obviously don’t know — but speaking to style, it’s very common to edit submissions like these for clarity and quality. A great example is “Dear Abby.” If one were to read 10 years of DA, they’d think the American populace writes short, crisp sentences with all the fat trimmed off. No, they’re just edited properly while staying true to the original submission.

    Do I think Penelope is one big advice-themed false flag operation?

    Believe it or not, no, I don’t.

    Franco

    Another question, how does anyone know published letters are actual people/actual letters?  · 1 hour ago

  18. Matthew K. Tabor

    I find this skepticism… weird.

    But hey, maybe Alex Jones is a Ricochet member. Who knows?

  19. Franco
    Judith Levy, Ed.

    Franco: The writing ability doesn’t correspond with the overall idiocy of this character. It doesn’t sound like a man wrote this, (and it could be a male, just not a man) Generally, it doesn’t ring true to me. Is this a real person?

    Franco: …how does anyone know published letters are actual people/actual letters? 

    The whole thing seems bogus to me. 

    Franco, you seem worried that you’re being deceived. Maybe Penelope can help you with this. · 8 minutes ago

    Yes, perhaps she can. Is this the original letter or was it edited for clarity/space? How do you know when a letter is legit ? What makes one letter more worthy of publication than another? How would anyone ever know if letters are made up entirely? Is there a governing body of advice columnists?

    Wary in Ricoville

  20. Franco
    Matthew K. Tabor: I find this skepticism… weird.

    But hey, maybe Alex Jones is a Ricochet member. Who knows? · 7 minutes ago

    I find blind belief common, but weird. This combined with interest in some flaky anonymous person’s love troubles on the front page of Ricochet, by an editor no less. The only thing about this that holds any interest to me is why Ricochet would put this on it’s Main Feed, and why anyone could possibly make sense of this person’s pathetic dilemma, and what good any advice would do. 

    In fact, why do people, and what sort of person reads advice columns? I think that’s a little wierd, too.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In