DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently found out that my wife has been telling our bedroom secrets to one of her girlfriends. We went out to dinner with another married couple a few weeks ago, and during our conversation, my wife's girlfriend blurted out something I had told my wife in secret.
Needless to say, I was disappointed and embarrassed that my wife would share our personal information with one of her friends. What should I do? -- Embarrassed in Chicago DEAR EMBARRASSED: You have every right to be uncomfortable about your wife's disclosure. It is completely understandable that you would want some information to remain private between the two of you.
I have to caution you, though, that it is common for spouses (husbands too, sometimes) to confide in close friends about the intimacies of their lives. The expectation is that friends will keep the information confidential.
But it can be difficult for people to keep information to themselves, especially when it's juicy. Sometimes such information leaks.
You definitely should speak to your wife and tell her how you feel. Be explicit with her about what information is off-limits for sharing with others. Suggest that if she wants to talk about your bedroom secrets, she should talk to you about them.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 16 years old, and all of my friends are getting piercings and tattoos. I want to get a tattoo, but my parents won't let me. I see it as a way of expressing myself, but I am also fearful of the permanence of a tattoo. What should I do? -- Ambivalent, Larchmont, N.Y.
DEAR AMBIVALENT: You are a minor, which means you are still under the governance of your parents. In refusing to give their permission for a tattoo, their intention is to protect you.
Interestingly, you have concerns that your parents probably share. Key among them is that tattoos are permanent. You should think long and hard about whether you want to put something on your skin that will never go away.
I am not going to tell you that you should never get a tattoo. Instead, I recommend that you make the decision after you have lived some more and taken a longer-term look at your life. People get all kinds of tattoos, including some that are easily visible. Those visible marks may make it difficult to get a job in a conservative work environment.
The good news today is that there are many options for being gainfully employed and living a productive life. Many people with tattoos have perfectly fine lives. You should revisit this idea when you are an adult and are ready to consider the long-term impact of your choices. Until then, wait.