Ask Troppo’s Love Gods: Frankie and Johnnie?

The Love Gods are back after a much-needed rest to recharge their advisory potency.  Replete with psychic Viagra they’re ready again to hop into another romantically beset reader.  This week we’ve raided the mailbag of Murdoch lovelorn columnist Kate de Brito, whose brother Sam was recently terribly miffed that we suggested he might not be the sharpest knife in the journalistic scabbard.

Our problem is in some ways a middle class version of that old traditional lovelorn anthem Frankie and Johnnie, which is fortunate considering that Dr Troppo seems to have developed an inexplicable midlife attachment to bad song lyrics and even badder whisky.  I just hope none of our Love Gods advise our correspondent to solve her problem the way Frankie did.

I received a Hallmark card yesterday in the mail, congratulating my husband on becoming a New father ???

Weve been married for 8 years, we dont have children of our own.  I have fertility issues.  My husband is 38 and Im 32.

I confronted him about the anonymous card, which only had the name of the baby girl stated on it.

What happened next has left me devastated.  I am in pieces.

The baby is the result of a short affair he had with a woman at work.  My husbands a physician and I am assuming she is a nurse ( he wont tell me).  The relationship ended when she found out she was pregnant and would not abort the baby as my husband had requested.  Around that time he stopped working at that hospital, and moved to another nearby hospital.

She already has two children from a previous marriage (so he says).  At present she is a divorcee.  She wanted him to leave me and marry her, so he tells me.

My husband and I have a great marriage (so I thought), best of friends, we have travelled the world together, I cant imagine life with out him.  I was planning to start fertility treatments this year.  There was nothing wrong at home in our marriage.  When I asked him WHY ?? why did you do this , he simply says its a mistake and its over, chapter closed.  He says if I leave him he will have nothing left in life to live for.  I see he has remorse, I know he would take it all back if he could. but I am in so much pain …. I lost my Mom to cancer a few years ago , the pain from this is even worse.

I am in a milllion shattered pieces.  I have no one to talk to about this.  This wasnt supposed to happen to me.  I feel angry sad helpless betrayed devasated lonely degraded and disgusted.

I dont know what to do, how to start over agin, I feel paralysed.  I hate him as much I as love him, how could he do this to me ??

Im sure she will file for Child support, why wouldnt she ?? Easy money, a successful physician, shell get every penny she can.  Im furious money that was meant for my family for our life together will have to go to this disgusting low life worthless woman, who together with my husband ruined my life.

Please help me please … I am devastated.

The Love Gods’ advice is over the fold.


Dear Devastated

Firstly let me say that I was very moved by your story. And Mr. Parish, in selecting yours from amongst all of the easily mocked trite nonsense that passes for modern day dilemmas of the heart, has picked a doozy that will certainly stretch this Love Gods sympathetic nerve to the max.

You see, yours is a tricky little problem to navigate.  The fact of your inability to bear children immediately gives you the upper hand, despite it being only slightly related to your immediate problem.  It arouses deep reserves of sympathy amongst the general reader, and I must therefore be careful to acknowledge how miserable you must feel about this lest I look like a heartless brute. 

Having now skilfully negotiated the matter of your infertility, I think we can agree that Ive passed the first test, and the readers are probably now feeling quite comfortable with my ability to handle myself in these delicate situations, and are now looking forward to seeing how I tackle your main problem. (Quite frankly so am I)

So, the next part of this process is to demonstrate that Ive got a handle on the main part of your problem.  Basically, as I understand it,  youve found yourself in a classic infidelity situation.  Theres you, your husband, the other woman, and the kid and that this is making you feel unhappy.

I think Ive got it dont you?  Incidentally, do you like the way Ive managed to state the problem so succinctly?   Theres quite a talent in being able to do this.  What took you some hundred or so words has now been condensed into a much more refined statement of the problem consuming no more than eighteen words.  Impressive Non?

Now the final double barrelled challenge.  Firstly, to wrap things up in the remaining paragraph, and avoid the trap of a lengthy (but no doubt enlightening) discourse that could risk losing some of our less educated readers, and secondly, to show that not only have I completely understood your problem, but Ive also offered you some hope in the form perhaps of some simple homespun advice.  Something uncomplicated that appeals to the values of my readership, and reinforces my standing as no-nonsense practical sort of guy with street smarts and a heart of gold.  A final dilemma resolving sentence that draws on some ancient wisdom, and leaves you feeling that despite it all, things will get better.  

There.  I hope that helps.  Good luck.

George St Clair

Hey babe, why the tears? Your man has proven he’s virile. OK, maybe not with you but so it’s still cool, right? There is some exciting new thinking going down right now about how we’re still just animals under the skin. Like noted sociobiologists like Edward O. Wilson and Hugh M. Hefner say, “if it feels good, do it.”  ‘cos y’know, going against nurture is part of nature too. And vice versa, you dig? Yes, it’s a paradox, sweet thing. Life is like that. Man was put to here to spread his seed. And the ladies are here to gather and hatch it. It’s a beautiful thing…provided you don’t get hung up on child support and all that other draggy stuff. So groove with it.

And you say you’re 32, infertile and possibly foxy? And your man doesn’t understand you? Lets rap, ladybird. You know the name, look up the number.

And stay real.
Your man, George.


Oh my, what a tangled web we weave etc. Impossible to be glib about this situation (bring back the lawyer who thought he was a, cough cough, “player”).

Not sure why this poor woman assumes the other woman is a nurse (last time I looked there were more career opportunities available for women in medical fields than that). Surely children are entitled to be supported financially and emotionally by both parents, so sister please don’t carry animosity to the little bundle of joy who’s going to be born into a horrible and complicated situation. If both parties didn’t want to be responsible for a kid, they both should’ve used contraceptives.

The card thing was cruel, but I wonder if “other” felt she had any other way of telling your old man that he’s now a father.    

Go see a counsellor NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girlfriends, if you know a bloke is taken, don’t even think about going there.

Go well, and remember the best revenge is to live well (and lots of other clichés too numerous to mention, as Greg said to Andy on Extras). 

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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14 years ago

Shoot the hostage.

14 years ago

Let’s see now…..a supposedly mature woman (nurse?) slips a married man’s dongle into her baby-maker and bugger me dead….she’s pregnant!! Sounds like a stitch-up to me. As for the wife….honey, what you thought you had, you never did and what you were going to do, you clearly never intended, else he’d have been aware. Has he nothing else to live for??? He’ll get over it, and so will you. Bale now and take the cut while it’s still there for the taking. After she’s done with him, there’ll be next to nothing worth having.

14 years ago

There’s nothing for it – do a Bobbit now !

Make the sucker pay !

Pavlov's Cat
14 years ago

If both parties didnt want to be responsible for a kid, they both shouldve used contraceptives.

Yes, well, how far would you trust a doctor who didn’t know how babies are made? And if he ‘would have nothing left to live for’ it means he doesn’t value his career much and certainly doesn’t see it as a calling.

So I think what we have here is a crap doctor and a liar, and he has probably lied through his teeth to the Other Woman as well. So let us not traduce the Other Woman; as far as I can make out, only one vow has been broken here and only one trust betrayed, and neither of those things by either of the women. The Other Woman is to be dumped on only (a) if she knew from the outset that he was firmly married, in which case she is a fool, or (b) if it was she who sent the card, which was a piece of unspeakable cruelty (though I notice the letter-writer writes ‘I received a card … congratulating my husband’ which sounds bloody strange to me).

But not only may the “nurse” (presumably everyone knows nurses are sluts at the bottom of the food chain who deserve everything they get, so she must be a nurse, QED) not have known he was married — it may not even have been she who sent the card. Dr Hubby may have thought up a devious way of letting his wife know the awful truth but shifting the blame entirely onto the O.W. by making her look like a psychotic bitch.

He sounds like a weak, manipulative, narcissistic liar and a bad doctor, and both women should dump him soonest.

Oh, and what Fyodor said.

14 years ago

a supposedly mature woman (nurse?) slips a married mans dongle into her baby-maker

Niall, apparently there was a consenting man attached.

and bugger me dead

Bit of an unfortunate turn of phrase given the context don’t you think?

IMNSOHO they all sound like weak, manipulative, narcissistic liar (s).

Petering Time
14 years ago

Girl, refuse to divorce him, spend up big and make sure you sock some away for when he deserts you – as he will.

14 years ago

frankly, Caroline, I think they sound like dickheads.

14 years ago

I clicked on the links, as I was beginning to think Ken was making this stuff up. Although this one sounds fairly atypical of humans (mis)behaviour. I must be hard up for something to do and read through the comments, well some of them, (there were 312) and I think ‘Millie’ should be conscripted into the Troppo pantheon forthwith.

Millie says.

He said that HE would have nothing left to live for. What a pathetic thing to say, and it sounds like he is trying to make himself out to be a victim here. He willingly slept with this other woman. He may not have willingly fathered a child with her, but it seems that this is the outcome of the affair and it is not something that will go away. The childs mother may not believe in abortion, or she may have taken no steps to prevent conception – either way, your husband now has a child out there that he has, in the very least, a financial obligation to for the next 18 years.

Yes, she will probably ask the Child Support Agency to get involved and this is not because she is a selfish, money-hungry cow, it is because raising a child, especially as a single mother, is expensive and she is entitled to a financial contribution from the babys father – this amount is currently 18% of his salary, until the child turns 18.

I know you want to hate her, and it would be very easy to do this, but you were not there and you do not know how it transpired. Your husband may have pursued her, told her he loved her and wanted to marry her. She may be feeling totally betrayed by him also. You know what they say about there being three sides to every story – what he says happened, what she says happened, and what actually happened. She did not ruin your life – your husband did. He is the one who is married and made the choice to stray, knowing that it would cause you pain and hurt if and when you found out.

Your husband has betrayed you. An affair may be possible to forgive but an affair that results in a child is one that will have ongoing repercussions, if only of a financial nature.

The fact that you are experiencing fertility difficulties may make your decision harder. What if you are not ever able to conceive a child – it will be very difficult for you to know that your husband has a child out there with another woman, which may always gnaw at you.

While I am not wanting to give you advice on staying or going, I think it may be beneficial to you to take some time out – go and stay with a trusted friend or relative who will not judge, or go away on your own and try to get your head around everything . . .

Niall, I concur.