My Friend Just Shared the Terrible Details of Her Marriage—and Other Advice From the Week

Slate publishes a lot of advice each week, so we’re pulling together a selection of our favorites. Here are a few of the most compelling questions from the week and links to hours of advice reading. This week: relationship gossip, baby drama, and incompatible kinks.

Sad Friend: I have a long-time friend who recently dropped a bomb on our long-time friend group. She told us that her husband of 30 years is a narcissist and has been cheating on her since day one of her marriage. We have known for years that he is an alcoholic, and he is a lovable guy that my husband gets along well with. She tells us he sleeps with other women and other men, and that he tracks her car, her messages, everything. She says he’s taken out multiple mortgages on the house without her knowledge and all the finances are kept secret. She has no evidence to back any of this up and all she wants is to be believed and be heard. Against my better judgment, I’m asked to believe her. How do I move forward?

She will not leave him because she says she is “trauma bonded” to him. How can we even be friends with her husband anymore? I feel bad. He’s a nice guy, but in order to believe her, it seems our only choice is to cut him off, but they are still together. It’s an awful toxic situation. We have a wedding coming up, which they were both informed about but I don’t want both of them there because they act all happy together and I will be thinking about it during my daughter’s happiest day. I am sick just thinking about this horrible situation. Sometimes I feel like she is exaggerating or lying to be the center of attention. Maybe they are both narcissists?! Am I being duped? I pray for them and I told her to separate and ask her parents for help. I confronted him about his drinking and she freaked out and said he would “kill her.” She always has an excuse not to leave. I have nothing like this in my own life and my husband and I just want to protect our sanity, but we love and care for them both. Any advice?

Sad Sister, Aghast Auntie: My sister Kari had her first baby in September. My husband Joe and I are adoptive parents and were chosen to adopt a newborn—with no notice—in August. Kari and her husband wouldn’t talk to my husband and me for months, claiming that we adopted our child to purposefully steal their baby’s attention. (Merely three hours separated the time we learned of our baby’s existence and the moment we welcomed him into our home.) One of our parents told Kari that she shouldn’t hold this against Joe and me, and that she was being unreasonable. She didn’t care. Her husband sided with her and got upset with the parent who said something.

Our babies are now a couple months old, and she has yet to hold my baby or mention him by name. Kari and I are (were) very close, and I don’t know what to do. She was so much more excited and hands-on when my firstborn came along. I’m sad and confused. I thought raising our babies together would be the best dream come true, and she won’t even acknowledge the existence of my baby. What can I do?

Troubled: I am a middle-aged male into BDSM—essentially I am a submissive. My wife knows about my kinks, but she really is not into the whole domme role. As a result I have intermittent sessions with a domme, which helps fill some of my needs. I feel very guilty keeping this a secret. I would like to tell her, but I am afraid that it could doom our relationship. My domme does not think I should (in her experience that revelation generally doesn’t go well for the relationship). Any idea of what I should do?

Reluctant Homeowner: When my parents got married my mother already owned her own home. She passed away while I was in high school and left the house to me with my father retaining the right to occupy the home for 10 years after her death. I pay the taxes and maintenance on the home from the remainder of my inheritance. My father pays the utilities. When I was in college my father remarried and his new wife and her two children moved into the house. I moved back into the home last year to attend graduate school. The transition was rocky. There were several arguments about house rules and who was in charge of things like bedroom assignments. It quickly became clear that my father’s wife believed he owned the home. I don’t know whether he lied to her directly or she just had a false impression. Either way, she was not happy when I told her the house was mine.

Things have calmed down a bit, but the situation is still uncomfortable. The 10-year right to occupy will be up in 18 months and I plan to sell the home at that time. I informed my father a few months ago. The problem is that I don’t believe he has told his wife. According to my lawyer, I don’t have to do anything other than serve them with a notice to vacate 40 days before the closing date, but I feel I need to tell her sooner if my father doesn’t. But I also don’t want to be stuck living with someone who resents me more than she already does for the next year and a half. What is a fair way to proceed?

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