Dear Carolyn:

Do you think men or women are hurt more when their mates cheat? My boyfriend claims it hurts men more deeply and causes more overall damage. I say it can't be generalized since it affects everyone differently. He has made similar comments in the past and frequently tried to persuade me that if he did cheat (he says he never would), we should try to work it out. These arguments make me suspicious that he is just setting up a get-out-of-jail-free logic behind anything he might do. His last girlfriend cheated on him and as soon as he heard he broke up with her; no discussion.


I think he's trying to get out of jail free, but not for cheating.

Sex for men is physical and for women it's emotional, yeah yeah, got it, check. But to use any generalization, even if it's true, to judge an individual case is to ignore that there are always variations from person to person, case to case -- which is why prejudging people on race or sex or other groupings is very very bad.

(Thank you. I've enjoyed this little journey back to sixth grade.) If you really have to spell out to him the mechanics of bias, or that most women are devastated by infidelity, then he is being a total guy and thinking with his pants.

Okay. Joke.

He's being a total sexist. At best, he's doing it because he has no clue how to deal with the humiliation he feels from the last girlfriend, and thinks laying down chauvinist law is his best shot. At worst, he really believes this. Either way, I do wish you luck.

Dear Carolyn:

A year ago, a longtime friend, a handful of others and I fell prey to the affections of a dull, whiny girl. Unfortunately for us, he returned her affections with fervor. "Roscoe" never had much luck with girls, and she is his first love.

Girlfriend is not a mean person, but is intolerably boring. The only phrases that come out of her mouth are that it's too hot/cold, she is hungry, thirsty, sleepy, etc. We would gladly put up with her if Roscoe, in her presence, were the fun guy we befriended, but he feels obligated to baby-sit her and might as well not be there at all. We no longer invite Roscoe out for fear he will bring Girlfriend, and we miss him. Is there a less-rude way of saying, "We hate the woman you love and please don't bring her''?

Missing Roscoe

You know, I'm as plagued -- and pained -- as the next guy by Other People's Mates We'd Never Choose. I can sympathize.

But I won't.

She's "boring."

That's it?

Sometimes friendships do end over this stuff, sure -- that's one course nature does run. But sometimes the circumstances are such that it becomes cruel to ostracize a friend just because you don't like his mate.

You say Roscoe has struggled. That alone is worth one bad-girlfriend mulligan.

And, this is ostracism by committee. Instead of huddling over reasons you all hate her -- a sure way to find things to hate -- try individual pledges to try to find things to like. Who knows. If she's not around people who resent her, she might find more things to say.

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