After my wife's jewelry business slowed down, she started bartending to pay her part of our bills. She's 35. A guy about 60 got friendly with her, leaving $50 tips for a few beers. This raised an eyebrow for me. Then she got breast implants and a tummy tuck and still had money ... hmmm. After digging through her tall tales, I finally got her to admit Mr. Friendly funded everything. She just started nursing school, and now he gives her over $2,000 a month. She insists he's just a friend, and the father figure she never had, and he just wants to help. They meet regularly for coffee, and I've even heard her on the phone telling him "I love you" (platonically, she insists). We have a 4-year-old son together, and I love her and don't want to leave. Still, she won't stop seeing him because he pays her bills, and I can't pick up all the debt she's incurred. Money aside, she doesn't want to be without her "friend." Any ideas? My head's about to burst.
There is a bright side to this. Unlike rich guys who fund hospital wings, at least he didn't have his name plastered across his donation: "Support for these breasts comes from the Dirty Old Man Foundation."
Your wife keeps trying to pass this thing off as something sweet and innocent: He "just wants to help!" Well, in that case, why isn't he out buying a homeless guy a sandwich instead of putting $10K into a tummy tuck and new set of biscuits for another man's wife? He's "just a friend!" Really? Friends ask you how your mom's doing with her injured foot, not how they can make you more boobalicious. And, finally, he's "the father figure (she) never had." I liked that one best. I don't know about other girls, but my father talked to me about right and wrong, and how I could do anything boys can do -- not the merits of silicone over saline, or how I, too, can have porn-star breasts.
A female bartender is basically an affordable stripper. For some guys, she's the one woman who will not only speak to them but listen like she's actually interested. A lot of guys mistake this paid interest for genuine interest, and it's up to the bartender to close out a guy's tab and his fantasy at the end of the evening and go home to her family. And then there's your wife, who sees no reason why having a husband and child should stop her from having a "Who's yer daddy?!"
Ironically, the one most in need of a male role model is you, since it appears yours was either Jan Brady or Bambi. Another man buys your wife a hotter body, and she continues to let him neuter you with his money, and in response you ... furrow your brow? Wow, that's harsh. At over $25,000 a year, this isn't a friendship, it's an investment. And now or down the road, the guy's got to be looking for some sort of payoff. Beyond learning how much more respect you get when you don't act like a chump, you owe it to your kid to try to have a healthy marriage. For that, you'll need a referee -- a couples counselor who won't accept justifications from your wife that, for general believability, rival "Sorry I'm late, the aliens shorted out their probe again." Ultimately, if your wife's going to keep acting like she pledged "'til death do us part (or 'til I get a higher bid)," she may as well put herself on eBay to see if she can pull in the really big bucks.
Generosity Of Spirits
What do you think of breaking the ice with a girl by buying her a drink?
-- Jack Daniels
Offering to buy a girl you don't know a drink is like asking, "Hi, if I give you $7, will you talk to me for five minutes?" Some girls will want to talk to you regardless, some will feel obligated, and some will thank you, pick up their drink, and go sit in some other guy's lap. A few will be immediately on guard, convinced that you're really asking, "How do you take your roofies? In a Mai Tai? Or straight up in a shot o' whiskey?"
Break the ice with your personality instead of your wallet -- just as you would in the supermarket. Surely you wouldn't say to a girl, "May I buy you a package of sliced liverwurst? Or how about a can of Pringles?" In a bar, once you make it on your wit and charm, that's when it's okay to flip a girl a Chardonnay. Consider it a really good sign if she returns the favor -- which suggests she's hanging with you because she thinks you're fun, not funding.