Dear Abby: My wife and I have been together for 26 years. I’m old school — no Facebook or social media, although I do follow sports on Twitter. My wife, however, is all into it. My issue is, she thinks it’s OK for her social life to be private. I don’t think there should be any secrets between us, and I’m feeling uncomfortable about this.
I saw something that, from my standpoint, is out of bounds for a married woman. When I asked about it, she said it’s private and has nothing to do with me. I’m wondering if this is the hill I will die on. Touching her phone would be a major crime. But my phone is open and she knows all my passwords to it as well as the computer. I’m thinking the openness is one-way, and it’s not working for me. Am I an idiot, as I’ve been told?
—One-way in New Jersey
Dear One-way: No, you’re not an idiot. You are a husband who suspects his wife may be doing something nefarious because she has become so secretive that trust has become an issue. While I don’t think this is the hill you will die on, it may be the one your marriage will die on, because, without trust, there can be no marriage.
Because you and your wife can no longer communicate effectively, offer her the option of counseling. If she agrees, it may save your marriage. If she doesn’t, then go without her to help you figure out what your next steps should be.
Dear Abby: I am a mother of three amazing children, ages 14, 10 and 1. My oldest children were born while I was actively addicted to drugs and alcohol. They were 6 and 2 when I got sober. Due to my past, they lived with their father. We never went to court; we decided custody on our own.
Three years ago, I married my amazing husband. The next year my daughter decided to move in with us. She lived with us for two years and was planning on doing so again this school year. At the last minute, three days before she was to come home, she decided to remain with her father, who lives in another state.
I know his side of the family has always made her feel guilty for leaving there, and I feel like they worked on her all summer. I’m heartbroken, but I refuse to stoop to their level and make her feel guilty. I’m proud of my daughter for being strong enough to make this decision, but I just can’t help but feel like I’ve done something wrong. They are well taken care of at their father’s house, but there are a total of eight kids there, and I don’t feel she will get enough attention. What should I do?
—Hurting Heart in Louisiana
Dear Hurting Heart: Instead of beating yourself up over something you “might” have done, ask your daughter why she chose to stay with her father for the school year. I think it’s a fair question if asked in a nonconfrontational way. The answer may be as simple as she formed some new friendships and doesn’t want them to end. Then, allow this new scenario to play out. It’s entirely possible that in a few months or next year she may want to return to you and your husband.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.