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Ask Amy: Husband says wife must not roam from home

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I’ve been married to my husband for 29 years. He’s a good dad to our grown children and a good husband to me.

One thing gives me a lot of anxiety and causes heated arguments: I would like to visit my family and friends in Greece, where I am originally from.

He does not have as much time off from work as I do, and he dislikes taking long trips. He’s a homebody.

I have more time off from work, and I have the time and the means to travel to my homeland for a visit.

My husband and I have arguments over me traveling with our kids, or going away with my girlfriends for a couple of days.

He always guilts me or makes me afraid to go, and sometimes he even threatens me with a divorce if I go. We end up having huge fights about this.

Otherwise, he lets me do whatever I like to do.

He will absolutely not see a therapist.

I sometimes feel trapped because I have to make my case each time for why I want to go anywhere.

I wish I had a magic wand to make him understand that it is important for me to be with my family and to occasionally take overnight trips to see people in order to stay connected.

Your suggestions?

– Homebound

Dear Homebound: Other than controlling your time away from your home, your husband “lets you do whatever you like to do.”

Yes, marriage is fueled by compromise, but one partner should not actually be in charge of the other.

The kindest assumption is that your husband feels extremely anxious about you being away from home, and he reacts to his anxiety by acting out and trying to control you.

I suggest that you sit down with him and say: “Over the next 12 months, I plan to be away from home overnight for a total of around 14 [or whatever number] nights. This includes a trip to Greece, and an overnight or two with the kids or my friends. I’d love for you to come with me to Greece, if you can swing it. I understand that this is hard for you.”

If your relatively brief sojourns away from home inspire him to threaten divorce or emotionally punish you, then you need to decide whether you are willing to tolerate that in order to stay with him.

Threats of divorce are an extremely manipulative tool to try to control you, made by someone who feels very out of control. These threats actually weaken your relationship. If this is his “go to” nuclear option, then you should call him on it.

Dear Amy: My best friend has the annoying habit of copying me.

If I upgrade my phone, she upgrades hers. If I buy a designer purse, she'll purchase the same brand.

If I tell her I've had lunch in a nearby town, she'll ask where and later book a table.

 

I spend time researching what I buy, where I shop, and new places to visit.

It feels like she uses me as a concierge or personal shopper.

I used to joke with my husband, "Let's see how long it takes her to buy one like this." Over time, though, her behavior has worn thin. It infuriates me.

Is she being competitive? Envious? Clueless?

She sometimes does the same thing with her daughters.

I hope you can offer a fresh perspective that will make it possible for me to broach the subject with her.

– Copied

Dear Copied: The “appropriate” response is to feel flattered.

Your actual response is to feel annoyed. Part of the joy of your curation-experience is to find special items or experiences that are unique to you.

Tell her! Say, “I think I’m not ‘supposed’ to feel this way, but – honestly – when you duplicate my purchases, I notice it and … it bothers me.”

Dear Amy: My wife and I are planning our anniversary celebration for the end of July, with more than 100 expected guests from nearby cities and a few from out of state on our invite list.

When should we send invitations?

– Wondering

Dear Wondering: July can be a busy month for people who may already be scrambling to put their summer plans together.

Send a “Save the Date” email now, noting the particulars and asking people to put this on their calendars.

Send your invitation in late-May or early June; this will give everyone several weeks to RSVP.

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(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.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.)

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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