February 23, 2011

Dear Delphi,

My husband wants to do one of those couple-switching parties, and I am considering it. I did some research and honestly it seems like it may be a little fun. We have been married for 25 years and the thing is, I love my husband and don”€™t want this to change our relationship, but I am nervous it might. Do you have any advice?

“€”Couple exchange? in Miami

Dear Couple Exchange? in Miami,

These days, a successful twenty-five-year marriage is so rare, it should be made into a movie. If you have made it this far, switching the leading roles around or introducing supporting actors is not a good idea. It will definitely change your relationship whether you want it to or not. It will change not only how your husband sees you but also how you see him.

You need to do some more research. Start with renting Eyes Wide Shut to remind yourself of wife-swapping’s perils. Research other ways you can have a “€œlittle fun”€ without changing the cast around. Change the costumes, change the setting, change the plot, introduce new props, add special effects or subtitles”€”do anything you can dream of”€”but under no circumstances should you recast your leading roles. Who doesn”€™t feel betrayed that Sean Connery no longer plays James Bond? He was charming, suave, and handsome”€”perfect for the role. Do you not feel a little sick each time you picture the new James Bond? He looks terrible in the wardrobe, doesn”€™t deliver his lines with the right tone or inflection, and looks more like a villain than an MI6 spy. He has ruined not only the James Bond character, but the entire movie franchise. The lesson: Never swap out a successful leading actor!

“€œThe fact that he’s dead does not cancel out your feelings, although I would avoid making it your go-to conversation at dinner parties.”€

Dear Delphi,

I am 55, no longer married, and I have been dating one of my 30-year-old daughter’s friends. We have kept it a secret, but now she has started making noise about taking our relationship public. I don”€™t think we should. What do you think?

“€”Dating Dad in Dallas

Dear Dating Dad in Dallas,

Not only shouldn”€™t you take it public, you need to end the relationship now. She will keep pushing you to take it public, and you may give in merely because you don”€™t want to argue about it anymore. This will lead to: a) a terrible fight with your daughter which may result in her never speaking to you again; or b) in the unlikely event your daughter is extremely understanding, it will lead to suffocatingly awkward dinner parties with your daughter and her friends.

Considering you don”€™t want to take it public, I have to assume you are only having fun and she is not the love of your life. You can find another 30-year-old with whom to have fun. Daughter’s friends and your son’s exes or present girlfriends are all off-limits. Never date any of your children’s friends, past or present.


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