Thoughts of former girlfriend have no place in today's reality
A: I am in a great relationship, with a very supportive wife whom I love, married for 2 1/2 years, and we just had a baby. However, I am still in contact with my high school sweetheart. We e-mail on birthdays, special occasions and holidays, but that's it; we haven't even seen each other in four years, and my wife knows about the e-mails.
The problem is, I still think about my ex, and what might have been had it worked out between us. I don't know if she still thinks about me in that way. I am going to my hometown in a few weeks alone, and I am thinking about giving her a call to go grab lunch. Is that a really bad idea?
A: If this exploratory lunch would occur under the pretext of "catching up" with an old "friend," or if you're planning not to tell your wife anything, then it's a flat-out god-awful idea.
If you want an idea that's merely bad, then you'll have to tell your wife, plainly, that you still have the "what-ifs" about Sweetheart and you're hoping lunch will wipe them out. Then prepare to spend the next several weeks checking under your pillow for used diapers.
If you'd like to grace your wife and child — and yourself by extension, since your fates and well-being are now so tightly linked — with a good idea, then please consider taking no action to pursue this lingering daydream. Not even the birthday e-mails, not anymore.
In other words, stop. If I could flick you on the forehead while saying that, I would. Real relationships have no chance against imaginary ones, because the latter never get dull, or hit the rocks over laundry, or involve conversations about whether your appointment with the urologist falls in the middle of the window when you're supposed to be home for the cable guy.
You have something real and beautiful in your own home. Feed it with the best you have to offer, by renouncing this corrosive distraction.
No, you can't just choose to stop thinking of someone. However, you can choose to throw cold water on your imagination.
Either you and Sweetheart have grown up, and chances are you have little in common now — or you haven't, and chances are the greatest thing you have in common is stunted emotional growth. Neither promises more happiness than your supportive wife and newborn child do. Go give them a big hug and a silent promise not to do anything stupendously dumb.
Take card to baby shower but leave the contempt at home
Q: I literally don't have $5 to spare toward the second-baby shower for an — unwed — woman at work (who makes twice what I do anyway). Would buying a card be okay? I feel I shouldn't attend since I can't donate for food, but don't want to seem like a "boycotter."
A: A card is appropriate for any occasion.
Thinly veiled contempt for someone's private life — solely on the basis of public details — is inappropriate for any occasion. Unless you have firsthand knowledge of her failings as a parent, just bring card, smile, say, "Congratulations."
If you can't muster even that, then make sure your next (whatever) appointment coincides with the happy event.