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It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for me to solve all the problems in the OutKick universe with the anonymous mailbag.
As always, you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to email@example.com, anonymity guaranteed.
Okay, with that in mind, here we go:
“Clay, I have a relationship dilemma. I’ve been married for 4 years now and truly do love my wife. I started working at my current workplace about 2 years ago. Soon after I started working there I met a woman and we clicked super quick. We became very good friends. The attraction soon started to build and about 6 months in we started having sex together.
Our friendship and sex life has both remained in the workplace. We haven’t done anything outside the walls of work. We always go to lunch together everyday and have sex in one of our offices about 2-3 times a week. As we have grown closer and closer over 18 months I think we’re both longing for more as we have had discussions but I think she’s currently content and realizes the complications of my situation. (She is single). To add to the complications my wife wants to start having kids. So is this a good time to leave my wife before anything like that starts and go all in with the girl from work or should I enjoy the life I’m living right now basically have a wife at home and a wife at work and not worry about it? I’m also concerned that the girl at work may decide to end things if I don’t take the next step with her. But I do love my wife and my marriage is good. What are maybe some pitfalls to all of this that I may be missing? I’m torn on how to proceed with this.”
Other than having sex two to three times a week in offices at your workplace with your girlfriend while you discuss having children with the wife you’re cheating on, I don’t see any real pitfalls right now in your life. Things seem fairly calm for you.
Of course this is sarcasm — you’re playing with complete fire here and everything could implode at once, your marriage, your work and your relationship. And you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up losing one of these three in the near future, no matter what you do to try to keep them all in place.
The one thing I’ll give you credit for here — and it’s very limited credit — is you seem to recognize that adding kids to the marital mix is a bad move. Which is correct. So I’d implore you to avoid having any kids right now with your wife, who has no idea that you’re presently engaging in a multi-year affair with a co-worker.
You need to decide, right here and now, whether you want to be with your wife or your girlfriend. Yes, I know, right now you like having both, but this situation is impossible to maintain. It’s definitely going to explode, and there’s a strong chance when that happens you could lose both of these women and your job.
If you want to be with your girlfriend, you need to file for divorce and if you want to stay with your wife, you need to end things with your girlfriend. Frankly, you probably should get divorced and end things with your girlfriend and figure out what you want out of life. But I doubt you’ll do both of those things because it would make you extremely uncomfortable, which is the last thing you want.
At an absolute minimum, I implore you, do not have children with your current wife. It’s the least you can do for her. She thinks she wants children with you, but I’m fairly certain if she knew about your multi-year affair with a co-worker that wouldn’t be the case. End the double relationships and pick one side or the other, your wife or your girlfriend, you can’t keep both.
And stop having sex at work, by the way. This is a potential disaster for you and your company as well. I don’t know if the woman you’re sleeping with is a subordinate, but if it ever emerges you were regularly sleeping together at work, your job there is over too.
“My wife and I have been married for 10 years and have two boys, currently 6 & 8. Up until this year, we’ve lived in our nation’s capital, but last school year took its toll on us. Schools took forever to open to in person learning and then Washington, DC public schools granted some teachers the ability to work remotely leaving kids/parents without even a choice of whether they could attend in person. Faced with the possibility of our then 2nd grader and Kindergartner going over 15 months of not being in a classroom, we temporarily relocated to a community outside the Houston area. We got the kids in school and everything was great.
Right after the school year ended, the school district dropped their mask rules. Then Governor Abbott issued his executive order allowing parents to decide if their kids wore masks. This school year has begun and the district stuck to their previous position which was inline with the Governor’s order — you want a mask, it’s your choice. I have been pretty clear with my wife that we relocated for schools and normalcy. As such, we’ve determined that the overall risk is very low and we’re sending the boys to school maskless.
So, the school sends out a notice whenever there is an instance of a positive COVID test at the school. Every time we get an automated email my wife questions the decision and I talk through the numbers and the chance of hospitalization showing her CDC numbers and seem to talk her back from the COVID masking ledge. I even talk to her about the benefits of natural immunity and the dangers of over protection as it relates to development and risk taking in the future. And I have mentioned that given the minuscule hospitalization rate, kids shouldn’t be seen as a strain on the system.
But then today we got a notice that someone in our older son’s classroom tested positive…..and then something kicked in and my wife wants the boys to mask up. I feel like I am the only one taking a tempered approach now.
Honestly, what chance do rational thinkers have anymore and how do I win this argument with her?”
There is zero evidence that kids wearing masks provides any protection to them or anyone else in their classroom at all. I mean that, zero. Go read this article from New York magazine summing up all the science on kids and masks and then share it with your wife. Because the science is clear: putting your kids in masks does nothing to make them safer. It’s complete cosmetic theater designed to make anxious adults feel better.
Your kids are under a greater danger of dying via drowning, murder, car accidents, and the seasonal flu. I’d focus on the last one here. Have you ever worried about the seasonal flu killing your children or wanted them to wear a mask during cold and flu season? Probably not. Well, the seasonal flu is substantially more likely to kill your kids than COVID is. And you never even considered it as a risk factor for your kids because, statistically, even the seasonal flu risk is virtually zero.
As a fellow rational thinker, the only way we can win these battles is by remaining calm and sharing actual data in the face of emotional pleas that aren’t rooted in logic. That’s what I’ve been trying to do for 18 months now. When everyone else has lost their minds, I try to ensure that I don’t lose mind too and add to the cacophony of absurdity.
Share that article on kids and masking I linked above with your wife and ensure she reads it. Then have a conversation about the data inside that article with her. Say you are open to changing your mind if the data changes. As rational humans, we should all be open to changing our minds if the data changes on any subject. But right now the data is clear: masks on kids provide no benefit at all against COVID.
One final thought, have you asked your kids whether they want to wear masks? I asked mine before I spoke at our local school board meeting. They both told me they hated wearing masks all day long last year and didn’t want to wear them in the classroom this year. Most kids feel the same way, especially if you tell them the masks aren’t making them any safer.
Ultimately while the adults all argue about masks, it’s worth remembering that it’s the kids who bear the brunt of the decision, not the adults. Your kids are six and eight, that’s old enough to have their opinions on this issue considered. Maybe they can help break the tie between you and your wife.
“My wife and I entered our 3 year old son into pre-k two days a week for three hours each day. As of last week, King Andy (governor of Kentucky) wrote an executive order for all ages 2 and up wearing masks while in school. We got a doctors note giving our son permission to not wear a mask. Pre-k started this week. My aunt texted me this morning after she found out we aren’t forcing our son to wear a mask in pre-k. As you can see from the text messages my aunt sent to us she said, among other things, that my wife and I were despicable and putting other kids at risk for our decision.
Here’s another example of an irrational person attacking someone over a situation that is none of their business. I’ve got several cousins that think like me and we have 5 aunts who have become radically obnoxious over COVID protocols. Is there anything you would recommend I do differently next time, because it’s bound to happen again knowing my crazy aunts? My cousins and I are at the point where we are tired of being quiet and letting this type of aggressive behavior continue because they are walking all over us. Help!
Feel free to share the screenshots of the text messages she sent.”
I’m not going to share the sceenshots of the text messages you sent me from your aunt, but I’ll sum them up by saying your aunt became aware that your son wasn’t wearing a mask at pre-school and berated you and your wife for that fact while also calling your actions despicable.
So let’s start here: your aunt needs to mind her own business when it comes to parenting decisions you and your wife are making for your three-year-old. That’s regarding virtually every issue, not just masking.
As the article I linked above, which I will link again here, makes clear, there is no scientific basis whatsoever for the argument that kids need to be wearing masks in schools. Most European countries aren’t requiring young kids, especially three-year-olds like your son, to wear masks. The only large scale study looking at masks in schools examined 90,000 kids in Georgia and found no benefit to mask wearing for kids at all. A recent study of adult mask wearing found that standard masks most people wear block, at most, 10% of germs, meaning they are virtually worthless. If you doubt this, you can simply look at all the data from around the country. Masks have done virtually nothing to stop COVID from spreading. They are completely cosmetic theater.
I wouldn’t get into arguments with relatives or friends who are arguing with you about your kids and masks because they are making emotional appeals while claiming to rely on “the science.” I would simply share the link above pointing out there’s no scientific basis for masks on kids and that most Western democracies aren’t requiring kids to wear masks around the world. Then I’d stop communicating with anyone lecturing you about your parenting choices.
Most people, sadly, are sheep who don’t bother to do any research for themselves. Worse than that, they’re threatened by anyone who does actual research on their own and makes a choice different than their own. This is why, ultimately, parental choice is the right decision when it comes to masks in schools. You can’t control what other parents do with their kids — and politicians and school districts are mostly afraid to stand up to the emotional outrage — but you can control the choices you make with your own kids.
I think that’s the best we can hope for right now as we enter year two of COVID madness.
You’ve been consistent about COVID-19 and the importance of relying on the data. I would have lost my sanity a year ago but for OutKick, so thank you. You’ve been consistent about vaccines in that people 65 and older, especially those with underlying health conditions, should get vaccinated because they are at-risk. My question is a narrow one: How would you deal with elderly family members who refuse to get vaccinated?
My wife and I live in the South in an open state. Thank God. Our two kids go to public school, play sports, and have a lot of activities. My wife and I are busy, active, healthy and vaccinated. Our older child is vaccinated; our younger child is not because of his age. My wife’s parents live 200 miles away in another state, in a southern state that is also open. Even though they are 200 miles away, we are used to seeing my in-laws frequently. We usually get together with them once every 4-6 weeks, either them coming here or us going there.
Here’s the problem – my in-laws are in their 70s and will not get vaccinated. Their doctors have told them to get vaccinated. We have too. It doesn’t matter. My mother-in-law has some underlying respiratory issues; my father-in-law is pretty good shape for a man his age. I’m not sure if they think COVID-19 isn’t real, or that it’s man-made, or that they are just bulletproof, or all the above but they don’t want to hear about the vaccine. Clay, they’ve gotten in swearing matches with other vaccinated family members about this.
While COVID rages, Fall and a new school year is upon us. There are sporting events, grandparent events at school, and various other things going on that my in-laws would normally take part in here with us. My wife and I are like you, in that we believe in living our lives and that everything should be open. But the bottom line is that we don’t want to be responsible for her parents getting sick or dying because they refused to get vaccinated. I’ve heard you say on your show that your elderly parents were vaccinated. What would you do right now if they weren’t? Specifically, would you draw the line and not visit with them or allow your kids to visit? This is not out of concern for my in-laws giving COVID to us, but strictly about us or someone around us giving it to them. My in-laws are a huge influence as grandparents on my kids and we want that to continue but my wife would be devastated if she thought she was responsible for them getting sick or worse. We are torn and would appreciate your insight.”
As frustrating as it might be to you, your in-laws are grown adults who get to make their own health choices.
Most senior citizens, 91% of them, in fact, have gotten at least one COVID vaccine shot. That’s the right decision because senior citizens — and obese people — have been at the most danger from COVID since this pandemic began last year.
I encouraged my own parents and elderly relatives to get the COVID vaccine because the data reflects that’s the right decision for them. You’ve done the same for your wife’s parents, they just aren’t listening. At this point, I’m not sure you can do anything else.
Let’s take this decision outside of COVID and consider other health conditions. Let’s say your wife’s parents were morbidly obese, smoked, or had alcohol problems. And you did everything you could to get them to eat healthier, stop smoking, and reduce or eliminate their alcohol drinking. Would you keep your kids from visiting them for these reasons, which all directly endanger their health? The answer is probably no. (Your answer would likely change if these behaviors directly endangered your children. If, for instance, your wife’s parents got drunk around the kids and then tried to drive them in a car somewhere, you probably wouldn’t let your kids stay with them. But let’s presume here that their actions are mostly endangering themselves, not others.)
As we’ve noted above, your kids aren’t in danger from COVID via their grandparents. (Or anyone else, statistically, for that matter). You recognize this because you’re asking about your responsibilities as it pertains to potentially giving your in-laws COVID.
Given these circumstances, I’d live a normal life and let your in-laws bear their own risk of COVID. You’ve done everything you can to encourage them to make the healthiest decisions given their risk factors, I’m not sure what else you can do.
Plus, the truth of the matter is this, it’s unlikely you’d ever be able to nail down how your in-laws got infected with COVID, if they do. Sure, you or your kids might pass it along to them, but given the fact that most of your family has been vaccinated, that risk is relatively small. And, again, given how many people your in-laws likely see on a daily basis, how would you ever know that you were the cause of their COVID infections for sure? You wouldn’t.
Furthermore, given the fact that your in-laws haven’t really changed their behavior during COVID, there’s a fairly decent chance they’ve already had COVID and presently have antibodies, providing additional protection to them even if they don’t get the vaccine. Maybe you could persuade them to get an anti-body test at a local grocery store or pharmacy. If you knew they’d already had COVID, that might allay your concerns somewhat.
But ultimately they’ve made their choice. You can tell them you disagree with that choice — and you clearly have — but given the fact that they aren’t providing any risk to your children, I think keeping your children, or the rest of your family, away from them doesn’t make much sense.
COVID isn’t going away, are you going to stay away from them forever?
I think you just leave your life normally going forward.
As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed.
And feel free to send questions that have nothing to do with COVID!