Given how complicated Fisher’s personal life was, responding to other people’s problems made a lot of sense; the actress, who died at age 60 on Tuesday after reportedly suffering a heart attack late last week, always spoke openly and honestly about her experiences with mental illness and addiction. And she had turbulent love affairs with equally famous men, among them ex-husband Paul Simon and her “Star Wars” co-star Harrison Ford.
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Sadly, Fisher’s “Advice from The Dark Side” column only ran for a few installments, but it showcased her wit, her no-holds-barred honesty and above all, her kindness.
In her first column, she answers a letter from a woman in her mid-50s whose husband cheated with prostitutes throughout their 30-year marriage.
“We have built a lot of life together,” the woman writes. “But on the other hand, he lied, lied and lied. I can forgive the f*cking around, but the lying is difficult ... Having lived a well-experienced life, what are your thoughts?”
Fisher’s advice is frank, sympathetic and open-minded. Instead of lecturing the woman on what to do next, she provides some guiding questions to mull over before making a serious decision.
Here’s the main takeaway from Fisher:
If you do believe that this is the “only” thing he lied about, then maybe there’s something to be salvaged. Everyone always lies about sex. If you haven’t lied about it, it isn’t sex. Have you ever faked an orgasm? Some might say that’s a kind of well-meaning lie – but it’s still lying, no?
His lying about the prostitutes shows you that he’s ashamed of his behavior. He didn’t want to hurt you. None of this justifies his behavior, but it explains it – superficially at least. You’ve been together a long time. I think it’s worth maintaining your marriage. Forgive him. It’s the most amazing thing to be able to forgive. And so difficult. But relationships are difficult. You’ve managed to maintain your commitment to him. You’re the better person in that arena and in the position to forgive. Resentment, on the other hand, is a toxic experience. Superior and final – and when you walk away, what have you got?
Fisher ultimately tells the woman she’s doing the right thing by exploring her options and seeking therapy.
“[Your husband] has more to prove than you do. I want him to send you a present or get you flowers. If he doesn’t, I will,” Fisher writes, adding, “Post me your address and see what you get. A stone, a leaf, an unfound door, some cliché flowers or perfume and a dress. Keep in touch. Good luck, and keep up with the gusto. I’m cheering.”
Head to the Guardian to read all of Fisher’s advice columns.