In a perfect world…

Things I’ve learned: when someone uses the word “perfect” to describe their relationship or their mate…..the relationship or mate is nearly always alarmingly imperfect.

Not that any of us or any of our relationships are perfect (or should be).  And not that I begrudge anyone a hyperbolic, joyful “this was the most perfect day!” kind of declaration–we should all have such days!  But when that’s the only adjective they can think of to describe things, you can bet something is, in fact, very wrong indeed.  Case in point, from Prudie’s Thursday column:

Dear Prudence,
I’ve been dating my (perfect, wonderful, ideal, etc.) boyfriend for just over two years. Everything is great, except for one thing: Early on in the relationship, I lied in a pretty significant way about the number of sexual partners I’d had. He was a virgin before we met, and he was viciously jealous about any guy I had hooked up with before him. At the time, we had been fighting about one of those guys. All of a sudden, he asked my number. Lying just seemed like the easiest thing to do. I had gotten a full STD screening before we became intimate, so the lie couldn’t hurt him physically. But it would definitely hurt him emotionally to know I had been with more people than I admitted to. Lately, I have been absolutely consumed by guilt over this. I worry he’ll find out somehow, and it makes me feel sick to think how he’ll react. But I fear that if I do tell him, he may never be able to get past it. Please help.


Hrm.  Using “etc.” at the end of a long list of adjectives is a red flag, too. It’s like building an eye roll into what you’re trying to pass off as a compliment.  Oh–and if you’re using the word “vicious” to describe your boyfriend…something may in fact be less than “ideal.”

Prudie replies:

Dear Worried
You told a lie, but it was in response to a question that shouldn’t have been asked. I’m not sure how your lie is going to be exposed. In addition to getting “the number,” I hope your boyfriend didn’t ask you to cough up names. It would be a bad sign if he created a spreadsheet of your former lovers and kept tabs of any discrepancies. You say your boyfriend is “perfect and wonderful.” But such people don’t engage in viciously jealous fights over irrelevant events from your past. I understand that he may have felt insecure about your superior sexual knowledge. But I hope over the past two years he has come to be confident about that aspect of your relationship and has dropped his concern about your former partners. If so, then forget about your lie. It’s none of his business, and it’s irrelevant. If he hasn’t, then everything actually is not great in your relationship.


Or, as Dan Savage would say….DTMFA!  Who needs the drama?

That may be easier said than done if she actually fears him, or the idea of being without him.  But I wish Prudie had at least planted that seed.


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