Dear Harlan:

I have this friend who belongs to this organization. She’s a married gal and is attractive. My other friend also belongs to this organization. He also is married, and asked her to lunch. I live in a conservative part of the country, so going to lunch with the opposite sex might be considered controversial, especially if the parties are married. However, if the parties have understanding spouses and there is innate trust built into their relationship, this may be OK, as long as there is open communication. What if my female friend’s husband told her that he was uncomfortable with her going to lunch with the opposite sex? What advice would you give my friend regarding whether she should go to lunch with friends of the opposite sex? I would certainly hate to give her bad advice.

Trusting Friend

Dear Trusting Friend,

When a man repeatedly has lunch with a woman he finds attractive, eventually his mind will wander. He might start getting interested — too interested. It might not start like this, and people might never get naked, but this is the mind of a man. It’s in our DNA. Your friend’s husband can love his wife with all his heart, but he doesn’t need to trust another man who wants to hang out with his wife. Yes, it’s just one lunch, but that’s how it starts. (By the way, there’s a dating service called “It’s Just Lunch.”) As long as your friend’s husband isn’t controlling in other ways (he doesn’t isolate, alienate, demean, abuse or degrade her), having objections to his wife hanging out with another man for lunch isn’t unreasonable. If the lunch is business, she can explain this. If he still has objections, she should see if the couples can all go out together in the future — so her husband is part of the relationship. It might be as simple as acknowledging her husband’s feelings and limiting the lunches. But again, it’s completely reasonable for a loving, secure man to be uncomfortable with his wife spending an afternoon with another man. She should respect this.

Dear Harlan,

My daughter is a junior in high school and is thinking about majoring in architecture in college. Her father and I are concerned about architecture as a major, as it has a low employment rate. What do you advise?

Concerned Mom

Dear Mom,

Remember when being a lawyer was secure? Then the recession hit, lawyers got fired and law firms stopped hiring. Remember when the financial industry used to be secure? Then thousands of entry-level positions were eliminated and a hiring freeze started. Who knows what will happen in the next six years? There could be a building boom and a shortage of architects. There could be a new architectural-technology firm that your daughter can start. Job security starts with passion and desire. The fact that she’s 17 and passionate about anything should comfort you. Instead of giving her reasons not to do something she loves, help her understand the specifics. Encourage her to talk to architects in areas that interest her. Encourage her to get a part-time job at an architecture firm. Help her understand what architects get paid and how much loans cost to repay. Make sure she’s educated, but allow her the space to be the architect of her life so she can build her own future.

Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online:

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