Too Quick to Divorce

"Social Q's" is Philip Galanes's advice column in the New York Times.  Every Tuesday in Anti-Social Q's, I will answer the same questions as "Social Q's," with a greater regard for the sad state of the human condition.

This week Philip deals with a variety of issues.  A couple want to divorce, a man invites too many people to dinner, a woman talks like a baby around certain people, and human resources employee is snooping in people's records.

Can This Marriage Be Saved ... by Our Teenage Daughters?

My husband and I have been having a rough time for 18 months.  I discovered some emotional infidelity on his phone.  We tried counseling; it didn’t work.  And we did our best to keep our difficulties from our daughters (ages 14 and 15).  But when we announced our decision to divorce, the girls were furious.  Their argument boils down to the fact that we made vows — which include them — and we are breaking them without consulting them.  Do they have a point?


What is emotional infidelity?  Has this world gone mad?  Your daughters are right in that the decision you and your husband will make will affect their lives.  We've gotten way too comfortable with divorce in our society and the results speak for themselves.  Especially when you have children together, you should put in the extra effort it takes to keep the family healthy and strong.  It's part of what being an adult is all about.  You and your husband will have to make sacrifices because the most important part of your marriage is not you or your husband's needs but rather the stability of your children.  Now grow up already.

Veto Power Misplaced

I am taking my niece and nephew (and their respective fiancés) to a celebratory brunch.  I also invited their parents.  Later, I asked if I could invite my cousin and his partner, with whom I am close.  I am paying the entire cost of this meal, which will be $850.  Still, my niece responded that she would rather not have my cousin and his partner join us.  No reason was given.  My cousin is not yet aware of the meal.  Any suggestions?


You're just one serial inviter aren't you.  When you invite one group of people, you stop right there.  Just because you want to be around a sea of people, doesn't mean anyone else does.  You did one thing right however, in that you asked if you could add more people to the list and did not add those people until you heard back from your initial invitees.  You got your answer and now you have to abide with your guest's wishes.

Not Ga-Ga for Baby Talk

I have a colleague who speaks in an exaggerated baby voice when men are around.  I know this isn’t her normal voice; she reverts to that when the men clear out.  In fairness, she is in college, as am I and the guys.  But it makes me cringe.  Not only is she demeaning herself, but I find it demeaning to all women.  Can I say something?


If she is your friend you'll try to knock some sense into her as soon as possible.

Edited Age

I work in a human resources department.  So, I have access to personnel records.  A good friend of mine at the company has started dating a woman in a different department — no conflict there!  Trouble is, she lied to him about her age, deducting four years.  She is 29, not 25.  Should I tell my friend the truth?


Um, I'm pretty sure you should not be snooping into people's personnel records.  You are part of the reason why people loathe human resources.  Before you go off telling your friend the truth, perhaps you need to be a bit more honest with yourself.  Realize that you are being paid to perform a certain task without violating people's privacy.


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