I’m a middle-aged widower with three children and a successful newspaper advice column that espouses my core ideals of wisdom, fairness, and the importance of family. Recently, while traveling on a long weekend with my extended family, I met a woman. She is the sophisticated, European type. I soon learned that this woman was already in a happy relationship with my brother (!), but it was too late. I was attracted to her, and therefore I had already begun leveraging my self-effacing charm and knack for deceit to ensure that she had feelings for me. Eventually, I manipulated her into falling in love with me and dumping my brother. But my girls now resent me, my brother wants to beat me up, and the rest of my family is treating me like a pariah. Am I a hypocrite?
Sign me, Dan in Real Life.
Not only are you a hypocrite, you’re selfish, childish, and morally bankrupt — following your bliss with carefree abandon, oblivious to the needs and emotions of your sibling, your family, and perhaps especially the poor woman whose approach toward happiness you’ve decisively wrecked. Grow up. Learn that the world does not revolve around you, and start setting an example for your kids. Teach yourself the important lessons that your needs do not supersede those of the other people in your life, and that your fleeting sexual desires and skill at cajoling sympathy cannot be conflated with the foundation of a truly meaningful, adult relationship between equals.
Unless your brother’s a douchebag. In that case, go for it!