Q: One of my wife's insurance company co-workers and her husband just installed a new, eight-person hot-tub in their backyard. We have been invited to a small potluck party with some co-workers and spouses a month from now. The invite reads, "a dish to pass, towel, no swimsuits!" It sounds like a skinny-dip party. My wife (cute, classy, moderately shy) says she'd like to attend. I'm still on the fence.
Steve: Call me old-fashioned, but skinny dipping with your colleagues would not be on my list of ways to inspire esprit de corps at work. Tell your wife it's hard to see much upside to this goofy party.
Mia: Some friends of mine had a pool party a couple years ago where everyone got very drunk and eventually naked. Thankfully, I missed it! But they couldn't look each other in the eye for months, and these were old, old friends. Imagine how much more awkward this could be with almost strangers. I'd steer clear of this gathering.
Q: My childhood best friend and I have drifted apart since high school but we still talk occasionally. Over time, she's become a huge pain. She's been in and out of rehab several times. She recently asked if she could come stay with me to "get back on her feet." I don't want to deal with her anymore. What should I do?
Mia: Stop taking her calls as much as possible, and if she brings up a visit again, tell her you live in a tiny apartment and your landlord doesn't allow houseguests. Personally, I think gradually dumping her will be easier than confronting her about your various issues with her.
Steve: Tell her that the best way for her to get back on her feet is to enter a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous. Also tell her that once she's clean and sober, you'll be happy to get together, but not before.
Q: My wife and I have very different sleep schedules. She likes to go to bed early and wake up before work to go to the gym. I am a night owl and like to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. I don't have to be at work until noon, so I sleep late. But here's the problem - my wife is a very light sleeper. So when I come into the bedroom in the early hours, I wake her up. Then she gets upset when she can't get back to sleep. Should we do separate bedrooms?
Mia: Hmmm, this is a tricky one. There are a number of options you should consider, and I would think separate bedrooms would be a last resort. What if your wife wore earplugs or something so you wouldn't disturb her. You could also try to go to bed earlier and read or work on a laptop in bed, which maybe she could get used to. Or try to meet in the middle: she'd stay up a bit later; you'd go to bed a bit earlier. Perhaps your wife could go to the gym in the evening, and you could do some of your reading when you get up in the morning.
Steve: Just wait until you get old and it's hard to sleep even when you're exhausted! There are a variety of remedies, including earplugs, eyeshades and white-noise machines that can cover nighttime lights or sounds. Given them a try.
Q: I am a divorced mother of grown children. When the last one was out the door, I put my profile on some of the dating sites. I was "clicked" by a gentleman named "Frank." He said he was married, but it was not going well. I saw him once a month for several years. In the back of my mind, I felt he was seeing other women, but I pushed it aside. About a month ago, I confirmed it. I brought this up to him, and now he has found all kinds of excuses why he doesn't want to see or talk to me. He has twisted everything so I am at fault, and he is not. I am truly concerned for the women he sees because of the type of sex he wants - using no protection may spread sexual diseases. I am having myself tested. What can be done?
Steve: One thing you can do is avoid manipulative narcissists in the future. Getting tested is smart. Be happy you're done with this loser.
Mia: Sounds like this guy was suspicious from the start. Anyone who says they're in a dead marriage but isn't divorced is suspect. And his recent behavior shows he was a jerk. Just get the STI tests and never talk to him again. *