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Ask Amy: Wife with no name resists erasure

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband, “Calvin” and I have been together for 18 years. We’ve been married for two years. In most ways we get along great. We have many things in common, and enjoy each other’s company.

One thing that has continually bothered me is that Calvin never uses my first name! Mostly he addresses me as nothing, or sometimes as “Honey.” He used to whistle or snap his fingers when he wanted my attention, until I pointed out that I was not a dog, and he stopped.

I have a perfectly normal name, which I am fond of!

I have tried on several occasions to talk to him about it. I asked if he doesn’t like my name, or if my name reminds him of someone he dislikes. He weasels out of the conversation every time I bring it up.

He offers no explanation for why he refuses to use my name. I have asked him to use my name, at least sometimes but he only tried it once.

Why would someone do this? Does it show a lack of respect toward me? Should I give up the struggle since it’s been going on for 18 years? I just don’t get it.

 

– Not Nameless Wife

Dear Not Nameless: I don’t get it, either. But I also don’t get how you could be with someone for 16 years – and then marry him – if he refused to use your name.

I’m imagining your wedding vows: “I take you …. over there … to be my lawfully wedded wife.” And how does he introduce you to others? (“Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet my girlfriend, Honey.”

How would he verbally identify you to an ambulance driver or a physician in case of an emergency?

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