Dear Amy: My husband has girls from work that message him. Sometimes these are work-related, and sometimes not.
When I stress that I don’t like it, he says it’s nothing I should be concerned about. He also says it’s unattractive for me to act this way, that they are his friends, and I need to get over it.
I do not give other men my phone number.
I know that he is flirtatious (whether he realizes it or not). Girls fawn over him because he’s such an attractive and nice guy.
If the situation was reversed and I was receiving messages from men, he would hate it. He’s comfortable with this double standard.
I’m at my wits’ end because he just doesn’t get it.
We’ve had infidelity issues in the past (on both sides), and I don’t trust his or others’ intentions.
Am I wrong for feeling this way?
Dear Upset: You aren’t “wrong” for feeling the way you feel. Your feelings are your feelings, and you get to have them.
However, because you and your husband have a history of infidelity and a lack of trust (certainly on your part), you haven’t “normalized” friendships, work relationships, and communication between people.
You don’t give your phone number to men. Why not? Don’t you have the right to communicate with male colleagues and friends?
I assume this is because you are trying to demonstrate behavior you want your husband to mirror.
Well, he’s not taking you up on it.
You could do some work on your own to rebalance your attitude toward your friendships with men, making an effort to understand what a relaxed, confident, and totally trustworthy friendship with a man would feel like for you.
Your husband is deriding your anxiety and your behavior when it surfaces. Yes, your reaction might be “unattractive,” but it is unkind for him to toss this at you, when he could — and should — be reassuring you.
The standard practice when rebuilding trust is to share any contact that causes the partner anxiety. So he would show you his messages, tell you who he is receiving calls from (or calling), and you would do the same.
And, even if he is a yummy charmer out in the world, he should always put you at the center.
You two are continuing to play out the dynamic leftover from your mutual infidelity.
You could take this into the office of a skilled counselor, and come out with a new understanding and a new way of behaving toward each other.
Dear Amy: I received two college graduation notifications and I am unsure what I should do.
The first is from a friend whose daughter has graduated from a prestigious college.
When she graduated from high school, we attended her graduation party and brought a gift that was personalized, unique, and useful for years to come.
We never received a thank you. I personally picked it out and made sure we received it well before her graduation. When we went to her party, she barely acknowledged us.
I know she may be different four or five years later, but it is still an irritant.
The second graduate is a son of a niece who we have not met since he was a baby, if even that.
We received an announcement of his graduation.
Coincidentally, both grads went to the same college, although they don’t know each other.
My plan is simply to send congratulation cards to each.
Am I being small-minded?
What is your suggested course of action? Should I still enclose a check?
Dear Wondering: Because one of these young people is a stranger and the other has a bit of a history with you, you should think primarily about what would make YOU feel the best.
Would it make you feel good to ignore the ungrateful grad? (It might…).
I’d probably send a card and a very modest amount to both, congratulating them and telling them that their first post-grad cappuccino (or martini) is on you.
You will not be thanked.
Dear Amy: You are so good at what you do, but I wish life were as easy as you make it seem.
Many days my wife and I discuss your advice. I’ll read a letter out loud, and we both try to guess what you’ll say.
After we both had our turns, I do the “reveal” and we’d decide who was closer.
Dear Randy: Many families report doing this together — and it makes me extremely happy. Thank you!
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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