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Hi Tim

Advice column by Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC.


The Shame Game

by Tim White


Tags: Advice column, Relationship advice, Parenting advice, Ethical advice, Etiquette, Marriage advice, Faith,

dorm room

Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and "unusual" social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website

Hi Tim, 
I am a girl, 20 and Christian, and I have been best friends with the same girl my age, also Christian and I will call her Molly, since elementary school. We got into the same college and even managed to room together in the dorm for our first year. Molly and I had made a promise to look out for each other in college. We have been stressed out, had our faith tested and been faced with so many temptations. Mostly, we have been able to avoid trouble. The problem is that she has been spending nights with a guy she just met a couple of months ago. Sleeping with him! We just never brought it up until she was gone 2 days and then we had a heart-to-heart talk. It turns out she slept with 3 guys before him! She says she really likes him but who knows, apparently she'll hop into any bed that's convenient, and I told her I was disappointed in who she was becoming and now we are civil but don't have any real conversations or hang out anymore. We are growing apart and I have no idea what to do. I feel like a have a responsibility to try to save my friend. Please advise.
- Chaste Mateless

Hi Chaste Mateless,
Your concern is touching. Actually, it is touching my gag reflex. You and your friend are adults; women, not girls as you identified. You are both free to explore whatever kind of relationships you desire. I hope she is being safe, and she seems content with her current circumstances, so why does it bother you? Because you both took some kind of chastity vow? I just cannot help thinking how lucky you are that she carries out her exploration elsewhere, sparing you the all-too-common college experience of being awakened in the night by the headboard banging a hole in the wall, or coming home exhausted to find a tie/scarf tied to the doorknob and having to spend the night on a cafeteria table or a bench.

As for your faith, it is just that. Her faith is her faith, and faith is supposed to be personal unless you are seeking to join a cult. The ruler of your friend's body is your friend, and she will likely not be a friend much longer if you persist in slut-shaming her. Please do not let your own moral code, or jealousy, or whatever is fuelling your inappropriate judgment cost you a best friend. Show your support, trust and unconditional love and start accepting that growing up sometimes means growing a little apart, but it does not have to mean growing away altogether.

Not Homophobic

Hi Tim,
U.S. War Veteran, 58 years old here and married for almost 40 of those. We live in the suburbs and my wife who is 57 has been on some kind of quest to become a hipster lately. She wears younger-looking clothes, listens to crap pop music of the day, spends a good hour or two a day on the internet, has me trying some pretty weird stuff in the bedroom, sometimes more than once a week, and then there is her latest project. She has made friends with a gay man-couple who live a few doors down and can't seem to get enough of their company. I am open-minded, to each his own, but she hangs out with them and now she is inviting them over for dinners. No offense to anyone, but what in the hell do we talk about? We probably have nothing in common, and I have been friendly but when I see them kiss or hold each others' hand my skin crawls. I try my best not to imagine what goes on in their bedroom.

These are nice boys, but they are in their 30's and talking about having a baby, who knows how that is going to happen I assume they are adopting, anyway I wish them the best but they are already calling us uncle and aunt, now they will be around more and how do I tell them I feel weird around them?
-Not Homophobic

Hi Not Homophobic,
Pleased to meet you, my name is Not Sarcastic! My heart truly goes out to you for the heavy load you must bear: a libidinous wife who ravages you in bed and has her own interests to keep her busy the rest of the time, and your two new friends. Go ahead and have those dinners, and keep your ooky thoughts, which are all from your own twisted imagination, to yourself. I would suggest trying to remember all those dinners you have had with straight couples where you did not think at all about them doing it. If I can read your letter without breaking into a giggle-fit when you say, "gay man-couple," you can get through dinner and hold it down, too. For your information, gay men are commonly having their own biological children within their same-sex relationships, as well as successfully adopting.

In short, be happy for your wife, enjoy all your sex and embrace your new gay friends, you will get used to them, may even find some things in common and stay youthful longer if you embrace some change rather than resist it all. Also, I do want to thank you sincerely for your service.

Bad News Bearer

Hi Tim,
I am a 33 year old woman with a 4 year old daughter. She has been close to my aunt who we recently found out has terminal brain cancer. She has been given a few weeks at the most to live, and I do not know how to break this news to my daughter. It is breaking my heart, what do I say if anything at all?
- Bad News Bearer

Hi Bearer,
I am so sorry to hear the news, and yes, your daughter is quite young to have to process it. The prognosis is grim indeed, but children live very much in the present. Four-year-olds understand illness, and understand that some are worse than others. Your daughter can understand that Aunt Frannie is ill, and she will understand when her symptoms become worse. However, the choice to share her passing after the fact is such a personal one, and so closely related to personal faith or philosophies that I am reluctant to give specific recommendations or resources. Your daughter should be told that her aunt was too sick to stay with us, but will always live in our hearts. The details in between are up to you.

Deflated

Hi Tim,
I am a man, 55 and my wife of 30 years is 53. We had 2 children and now the nest is empty. Back in our 20's, we had an active sex life and even more importantly, had fun together. Now, we just shuffle through day after day working and never talking or connecting, and it makes me sad. It feels like we are on automatic and we have not slept together in over 2 years. When I try to talk about sex she responds by saying that I am a typical man and just beg like a dog for sex as if that is all that matters. She shuts me down and we never talk about anything personal. Then I mostly just stay to myself for awhile. That could not be further from the truth I just want us to let loose and have fun, and I think sex might be a good place to start. Is this going to be the rest of our lives?
-Deflated

Hi Deflated,
I could suggest books, or other resources, but you and your wife will probably never be able to recapture the intimacy you once enjoyed if you cannot even talk about it together without having to adopt adversarial corners and resort to name-calling. You need professional help. You can begin searching for it here. Being able to talk with an objective third party is essential at this point, and both of you should be willing to participate if you want to keep your relationship healthy.

Editor’s Note: The opinions offered in this blog are the author's alone. Tim White, and any experts he may consult and/or quote in responses to letters, will never provide medical or psychological advice, diagnoses, treatment, or counseling of any kind. General advice, opinions, and suggestions may be offered with no obligation on the part of readers to accept or act upon the content published within this column. Anyone in immediate crisis and/or mental/physical distress should call 911 or related resources of assistance.

Photo courtesy Alex Erde, licensed under Creative Commons