Hus­band’s novel ap­proach

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions to Amy Dick­in­son by email to askamy@amy­dick­in­

Dear Amy: I am a 50-year -old woman. My hus­band and I have two sons.

I re­cently found out that my hus­band has been ex­chang­ing texts with an­other mar­ried woman who he met in a writ­ing work­shop.

My hus­band told me that the woman con­fided in him about her mar­riage prob­lems and their ter­ri­ble sex life. She also told my hus­band that she was hav­ing an af­fair with an­other man.

Her state­ments seemed fishy to me. Why would a woman con­fide in a mar­ried man about her mar­riage prob­lems, her af­fair and her sex life?

I was hurt by this, but he kept in­sist­ing that noth­ing was go­ing on be­tween them. He said he was just us­ing her sto­ries as fod­der for his up­com­ing novel.

Is that a jus­ti­fied rea­son? Wor­ried Wife

Dear Wor­ried: You don’t men­tion how you learned about this cor­re­spon­dence, but I agree with you that its sub­stance raises red flags.

It is in­ap­pro­pri­ate for peo­ple who are in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship to com­plain to a new ac­quain­tance about their mar­riage and sex life.

At the very least, this level of in­stant in­ti­macy in­di­cates that she is indis­creet and doesn’t re­spect bound­aries. At the most, it sig­nals that she is avail­able and in­ter­ested. And yes, dis­clos­ing that she is al­ready hav­ing an af­fair sig­nals that she is able and avail­able.

Your hus­band also has a prob­lem with bound­aries. He should not de­velop an in­ti­mate friend­ship with an­other woman. This in­ti­macy in­ter­feres with his re­la­tion­ship with you.

And here’s some writ­ing ad­vice for your hus­band: Writ­ers are story-thieves, but it is deeply un­eth­i­cal to use some­one else’s life ex­pe­ri­ence for your own novel, cer­tainly with­out their per­mis­sion.

Dear Amy: Why do peo­ple choose to have chil­dren?

I am 27 and in a won­der­ful seven-year re­la­tion­ship with a lovely man my age. We hope to get mar­ried in the next cou­ple of years.

We are both on the fence about hav­ing chil­dren. Ev­ery time we ask par­ents for their opin­ions, we are told how dif­fi­cult, ex­pen­sive and tir­ing it is.

In a so­ci­ety where we have more choice than ever about whether to pro­cre­ate, why do peo­ple choose to do so? What do you rec­om­mend? K

Dear K: Some­times, cou­ples on the fence about hav­ing chil­dren be­come par­ents when na­ture takes over. Un­planned preg­nan­cies re­sult in fam­ily-build­ing.

But over­all, the choice to have chil­dren doesn’t seem like one choice but many choices made over time and fu­eled by dif­fer­ent mo­ti­va­tions. Some peo­ple seem headed to­ward par­ent­hood from the time they are young chil­dren. For oth­ers, form­ing a lov­ing at­tach­ment with a part­ner seems to kick­start their de­sire to have a child with that per­son.

Other peo­ple don’t want to have chil­dren, un­til the day they wake up and do.

When I was con­tem­plat­ing this, a wise per­son told me: B”e ab­so­lutely cer­tain that this is what you want, be­cause what no one ever tells you is that par­ent­hood doesn’t al­ways work out (for the par­ents).”

The per­son telling me this, wryly, was my own mother. But I ap­pre­ci­ated the heads-up, be­cause — yes, par­ent­hood is dif­fi­cult, tir­ing and ex­pen­sive.

But it has also been the hard­est job I have ever loved.

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