Waiting To Leave For Three Decades & She Needs To Wash Regret Off Her Hands

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

DEAR CAT: I have been married for 31 years. Every day of those 31 years has been miserable and I have only been waiting to leave. I was pregnant when we got married and I did not think I had another choice. I did not love my husband and I do not believe he loved me. We got married because that is what you were expected to do. My husband is not a bad man and we are not bad to each other but there is no love. There is no good conversation. There is no sex for many years now. I was a mother and wife, never earning money. He has been a father and husband who earns money but he contributes nothing else to the household or my life. Several years ago my son told us to get divorced but my husband is fine to stay the course and will not talk about it. Now my parents are gone and it is time to end the charade. I hope you will answer me truthfully…will I be happier without a husband? — PACKING MY BAGS

DEAR PACKING: I can’t tell you what will make you happy. I can tell you that over the years I’ve heard from numerous women who made the transition to singleness from decades of marriage and they were sublimely happy. Likewise I’ve heard from those who didn’t find contentment outside of marriage because they were accustomed to sharing the responsibilities of daily life (bills, cleaning, basic companionship) and ultimately felt lost. I strongly suggest planning – not just dreaming about – life on your own before walking out. Are your finances in order? Do you have friends or family in the area? Do you work? If not, would you be willing to? If you have your own money, things will be much easier. Again, I can’t tell you what will bring you happiness but….Cat’s Call: You deserve the chance to try and find it.

DEAR CAT: I was out to dinner with my close friend and several of her work friends. We’ve all been out together before but she is closer with them than I am. Her friend “Mary” and I went to the ladies room together and she didn’t wash her hands afterward. She came out of the stall and fixed her hair and talked to me while I washed mine, then she walked out with me. A few minutes later the bread came and it was the kind that’s freshly baked and you cut it yourself. I cut mine, then passed it to Mary who did the same, then she passed it on to my friend. As my friend was about to cut a piece for herself I said, “I wouldn’t do that, Mary didn’t wash her hands.” At first my friend thought I was kidding but she could tell by the angry look on Mary’s face that I was serious. The rest of the dinner was uncomfortable and Mary didn’t speak another word to me. Later on my friend thanked me for letting her know that the bread wouldn’t have been sanitary but now that a couple weeks have passed, Mary won’t speak to my friend anymore, except once to deny not washing her hands and say that I am a bitch. I feel bad that I ruined their friendship. Should I have kept my mouth shut? — HAVING REGRETS

DEAR HAVING: You didn’t ruin a friendship, you saved your friend from potential illness. Just think how unsanitary Mary must be in general to not even make the pretense of washing her hands in front of you. If she cared so much about friendship she’d take one minute to wash her hands and not treat a shared loaf of bread like a roll of toilet paper. Forget the regret and….Cat’s Call: Enjoy good health.

What’s YOUR call? Share it below! Submit questions to: or click here.

  1. “Just think how unsanitary she must be in general” that’s what I think about many people. Most common sickness is passed with dirty hands. We are so lazy and spoiled, with clean running water everywhere for free yet people too fat and lazy to use it after handling excrement. If ‘Mary’ learned the restaurant kitchen workers did the same thing she’d complain and report the place to the health dept.

    — direstraight    11/08/2011    Reply

    1. @direstraight,

      “We are so lazy and spoiled, with clean running water everywhere for free yet people too fat and lazy to use it after handling excrement.”

      Please show me where HAVING REGRETS mentioned that “Mary” was fat.

      It is obvious that in your mind being fat is automatically coupled with laziness.

      Maybe you are SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT? If not, maybe you should read what she/he wrote.

      — LeBron from Pittsburgh    11/08/2011    Reply

      1. I don’t think Mary is fat, I was commenting on America in general, how much we have access to and how lazy people still are. Though fatness DOES = laziness, that was not my point. There is no excuse for not washing your hands after going to the bathroom besides laziness.

        — direstraight    11/08/2011    Reply

  2. @direstraight or should I say, SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT,

    Fatness equals laziness, huh? You stereotype often, do you, or do you have statistics to back up that bold stereotypical claim?

    — LeBron from Pittsburgh    11/08/2011    Reply

  3. You guys are far off the point. Having Regrets was right to ‘out’ Mary about the handwashing. I guess she could have said something in the ladies room but it’s not her job to be the washing police. It is possible Mary didn’t go to the bathroom and therefore did not feel it necessary to wash her hands but that is off the point too. Touching a stall door is enough to make you want to wash your hands. Not Mary obviously, but a regular person. ps: LeBron, no obese people are extremely active (cardiovascular exercise). It is silly to perpetuate the idea that fatness and healthy living go hand in hand. That sort of thinking is why 1 in 4 people are overweight. Stop tiptoeing around obesity and then we can all move forward. It is a choice and people have the right to make it or reverse it.

    About Packing my Bags: Good luck to you! Cat is right, make sure your money/finances are in order, then embark on a new chapter of your life.

    — Karen, Pitt    11/08/2011    Reply

  4. For having regrets – you did the right thing, but it would have been better to cut a number of slices and then pass it in the other direction, so that Mary received it last, and then tell your friend after the fact about the lack of hand-washing. I had a friend who refused to have another friend baby sit her children because of this. A different friend refuses to eat bread in a restaurant, no doubt because of a similar experience. On the other hand, unless you are preparing the food yourself, you can’t be sure if everyone handling it has washed their hands, washed the produce and so on. Here’s a funny story – I was in a small store getting some cold cuts. The person behind the counter put on disposable plastic gloves, but then her machine ran out of register tape for the pricing so she went in the back, got the tape, put it in the machine, and carried on slicing, still wearing the same plastic gloves!

    — PB from NY    11/08/2011    Reply

  5. @Karen,

    [shakes head upon reading]

    “ps: LeBron, no obese people are extremely active (cardiovascular exercise). It is silly to perpetuate the idea that fatness and healthy living go hand in hand. That sort of thinking is why 1 in 4 people are overweight. Stop tiptoeing around obesity and then we can all move forward. It is a choice and people have the right to make it or reverse it.”

    Good grief, where to begin [rhetorical]? Karen, seriously, when you attended grade school did they teach you reading comprehension? Let me explain why I ask that question with other questions.

    1. Where in my reply to direstraight did I ever mention fatness in regards to healthy living?

    2. Where in my reply to direstraight did I ever say fat people are extremely active?

    3. Where in my reply to I ever talk about obese people?

    4. Do you know obesity and being fat are not necessarily one in the same?

    5. What “sort of thinking?” I already have proven to you in the 4 questions above, that I never thought that way.

    6. Prove that that “sort of thinking” is the cause of 1-4 people being obese. Stats and sources, please.

    7. How do you arrive that I was tiptoeing around obesity when I never mentioned obesity?

    8. How do you know that we can all move forward if I did stop tiptoeing around obesity?

    9. You imply that obesity is a choice for all who are obese. Prove that obesity is a choice and not a medical condition for at least some who are obese.

    And now for the final kicker…

    Your inability to comprehend what I wrote led you to not even address the only issue I commented on, and that issue was this…

    It is stereotyping to imply that fat people are automatically equated with laziness.

    In your attempt to “school me” all I can say is… you picked the wrong the person.

    — LeBron from Pittsburgh    11/08/2011    Reply

  6. Regrets, you did the right thing. Mary has some issues, not just health issues, and was embarrassed at being outed. If she was a true friend, she’d get over it and move on, maybe even thank you and your mutual friend for setting her straight.

    Packing: it’s a huge move, and no one else can tell you what you’ll be happy with nor tell the future; but if you truly are miserable every day, what’s to lose? If, however, you are ok with the day to day life, you should evaluate everything about your life before and after the divorce before making the leap. Once you make the decision, you cannot go back.

    — Wertzro in Pittsburgh    11/08/2011    Reply

  7. Jeeez LeBron you’re on a tear today. Normally I agree with your contributions here but I feel bad for Packing and Having because in all that stuff you did not offer any advice! Isn’t that what this section is for?

    My call to Packing: Get your ducks in a row before doing anything. Also I recommend sitting down with your husband and talking it out. Maybe if he understands how unsatisfied you are it will light a fire under him to try and make the marriage something worth staying for?

    My call to Having Regrets: You did the right thing. Someone at the table could have gotten really sick. As long as your friend isn’t mad at you for doing that to Mary, have no worries.

    — Sammy, PGH    11/08/2011    Reply

    1. @Sammy,

      I haven’t gotten around to providing advice yet, as I was first side-tracked by a quite often heard stereotypical remark. Then soon after, another reader attempted to “school me” and I couldn’t resist providing a rebuttal to that schooling.

      — LeBron from Pittsburgh    11/08/2011    Reply

      1. Sammy – you need to understand that angry LeBron’s sole purpose for existence on this forum is to slam and make personal attacks against anyone who doesn’t agree with his opinions.

        LeBron – you need to simply express your opinions and comments on the topic at hand without getting side-tracked and personally attacking anyone who makes a comment you don’t happen to agree with. I actually enjoy reading your posts on this forum and agree with many of them, but your comments would command a lot more respect and validation if you would just drop your condescending attitude.

        Lighten up, Francis!

        — Matt in Pittsburgh    11/09/2011    Reply

        1. Love the reference…Stripes is a great movie.

          — Cat    11/11/2011    Reply

  8. I guess Matt dressed up as Sergeant Hulka for Halloween. And, as the inner-city saying goes, likes to speak out of the side of his neck too.


    Why in the world would you wait and basically waste 31 years of your life staying married to a man you don’t love? I can’t just “get that.” Sure, you could say it was for your son (your letter indicates an only child), but once he reached the age of say, 18, you could have made the break then.

    Cat’s advice is spot on. You have to ask yourself – am I content enough to not try to obtain true love and happiness?


    You shouldn’t regret a thing. However, you could have “called” Mary out right there and then in the bathroom. Something like, “Mary! You aren’t going to wash your hands (with a smile)?”

    — LeBron from Pittsburgh    11/09/2011    Reply

  9. It amazes me how when I call out people that they don’t respond.

    Yes, this is Cat’s Call, and she is the best at giving advice in a consistent manner, but I only call out others when they instigate a “call out” that doesn’t make sense.

    And Cat shouldn’t nor wouldn’t do such a thing;

    Cat, if I am affecting your site in a bad way, please let me know.

    — LeBron from Pittsburgh    11/11/2011    Reply

    1. Thank you, LeBron, I appreciate the compliment! No worries, I want readers to post their own advice and ‘calls’ because it gives questioners a chance to virtually talk out their problem. You consistently provide solid, helpful commentary (especially when there’s a cuckold in the vicinity!) and it’s always welcome.

      — Cat    11/11/2011    Reply

  10. I agree with Matt in Pittsburgh.

    Cat, you seem almost obeisant to someone who at times, posts defensively and very angrily in sidetracking, attack mode when someone disagrees with him or “schools” him; yet he schools others; in his words, “calls them out”. His comments on the columns themselves become secondary to this purpose. This adversely changes the tone of the forum, which I have understood to be for giving our take on the columns and how we would advise others, not arguing with and/or putting down other contributors. I am disappointed that one person’s lack of courtesy and superior demeanor toward his peers appears to be encouraged, but hopefully, inadvertently. To what purpose? I am not surprised that people don’t respond to him when they are “called out”. In your columns, wherein you provide advice and support – and goodwill, which I feel from the way you write – one need not respond to, and thereby validate, mean-spirited condescension.

    — Diane, Plum    11/16/2011    Reply

    1. Hi Diane,
      Thanks for your comments. Do remember this is an open forum where people are allowed to express their opinions, which might deviate from the week’s advice topics but that happens sometimes. I, too, did not find LeBron’s ‘rant’ helpful (in any way) in terms of advice but he is entitled to his opinion and others are free to agree with it, disagree with it or ignore it. He is a regular contributor to this forum and often provides useful and/or funny comments. To that end, he expressed regret that he might have negatively affected the forum and that consideration is appreciated. It is not obeisance to allow a person to vent their frustration – isn’t that what you just did? Your comments did not offer advice on the week’s topics but they have been published. I’m glad you see the advice and support I try to offer in the column, and I hope you continue to enjoy it!

      — Cat    11/16/2011    Reply

  11. Hi Cat,

    No, that is not what I just did. What I did was make an observation about a person’s mean-spirited, attacking comments toward your other contributors when they have a different opinion from his, not about his otherwise useful and/or funny opinions and comments about specific columns.

    Thank you, and I will continue to enjoy your writing!

    — Diane, Plum    11/17/2011    Reply

  12. IMHO, Diane has a valid point. LeBron’s comments are sometimes blunt and hurtful, which is not constructive. Entertaining, yes, but not for the victim. There is an entire spectrum of cruel-to-kind from which to choose when dispensing advice.

    — Nancy in Pittsburgh    11/22/2011    Reply


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