Question:

Caught him cheating with his good friend and coworker, after he had denied it for more than a year and repeatedly called me crazy for "seeing something that wasn't there." I feel hurt, betrayed, and, above all else, gaslighted (gaslit?). I alternate between wanting nothing more to do with him and feeling desperate to fix this. But if he was able to lie to my face for months, and suggest I was the crazy one for suspecting him, is there any chance this can be fixed?

Answer: Zero. But your impulse to "fix" it? That can be fixed.

When you've been hurt, lied to, humiliated, and gaslighted/looted/lit in such spectacular fashion, it's an understandable impulse to want to rewrite the ending. Common, too - there's a reason that crawling back to naughty exes has become a cliché. People crave that new ending: "He really loves me" . . . "losing me finally woke her up" . . . "I make him want to be a better person."

On (very) rare occasions the rewrite is true, which makes it even more tempting; who doesn't want to be special?

Problem is, what you had was someone who used your love as an opportunity to get double the romantic attention - the risk of discovery adding a dash of adventure - and who exploited your preference for a happy ending to buy him extra duplicitous months. Absolutely not your fault - unless you go back for seconds.

There's nothing here to fix but your peace of mind, and only distance from him will do that.

Q: Recently I was in a restaurant booth by myself, reading. There was a child (under 2) in a high chair behind me. At some point he let out - and this is correct - a bloodcurdling scream. I turned around to see what horrible accident had occurred.

I found out this was just the decibel level this child was allowed to communicate in. The fourth or fifth time I turned, I was checking to see how close the bill was to be being paid.

As the family was leaving, the grandmother approached me to say I had "ruined their evening with my ugly face." She said it was a "children's restaurant" because there was a children's menu. I was looking down at a $30 prime rib wondering where my Happy Meal was.

In my opinion, children who can't behave in a public place should be removed. A less expensive piece of chicken is not a sign that all social norms have been thrown out the window. What do you consider to be the happy medium?

A: Of course ill-behaved children should be removed - something guardians should know. But "should" leaves room for clueless or self-absorbed guardians to shirk their responsibilities, right? (Sometimes, too, glaring bystanders have too low a threshold for annoyance, though "bloodcurdling scream" suggests that wasn't the case here.)

So when the "should" system breaks down, bystanders have a choice: Protect the moral victory, and sit there while our anger mounts and daggers shoot from our eyes - or concede defeat and enlist the waitstaff to find us a new seat/pack our meal to go. The loud and self-righteous family ruined your dinner, not the other way around, yes - but your choice to hold your righteous ground guaranteed it.

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