Ask Amy

Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 10:05pm

DEAR AMY: I recently found out that my husband has a female friend at work that he calls "special."

When I asked him about the relationship, he told me that they have been close (not sexual) for two years.

He tells me that they kiss on the cheek, have lunches by themselves about once a month and text each other often.

I believe in co-worker friendships, but the fact that I did not know this woman even existed bothers me.

My husband feels I'm blowing this out of proportion and that I shouldn't feel bothered that he went out of his way to take her out for her birthday (that's how I found about the relationship).

I am shocked by his hurtful behavior.

We have been together for 20 years, have two amazing kids, and I feel I can't trust him anymore.

Am I overreacting?

— Worried Wife

DEAR WORRIED: Like you (and your husband), I also believe in workplace friendships — and there is no question that these relationships can become very close.

What I can't imagine is having a close workplace friendship for two years and not mentioning this person — or the relationship — to my spouse.

The most "special" people in your husband's life should be you and your kids.

After that, other friendships and relationships he has should be shared with you.

It is natural for your husband to accuse you of blowing this out of proportion — but even if you are, what is he prepared to do to rebalance the proportion?

He needs to introduce this special person to you, and then he needs to be sensitive to your anxiety and respectful about your reaction.

DEAR AMY: I have a 26-year-old daughter that my father has decided to disown because she forgot to thank him for his $25 Christmas check.

My daughter graduated from law school last fall and is also into competitive boxing which takes a lot of time (my fault).

My father knows all of this.

She crams 40 hours in a 24-hour day. Lots of things go undone in her life.

However, my father will not cut her any slack.

When a gift is given, an official and timely "thank you" is required.

I love my daughter very much and we are very close.

I'm on good terms with my father but don't know how to deal with his bullheadedness on this issue.

My sister and I take turns taking care of Dad (taking him to doctor's appointments, etc.).

If I abandon that duty, my sister will be overwhelmed. What to do?

— Loyal Daughter and Mom

DEAR LOYAL: Rather than cut off your relationship with your father, how about you suggest to your daughter that she needs to step up?

All of your excuses are running in the wrong direction.

You should say to your daughter, "Look, your grandfather is older. He might even be a little bullheaded. But for goodness sake, cut the guy a break and just say thank you! It is rude, tacky, ungracious and wrong not to thank someone for a gift. And it takes two minutes."

Your message to your father should be, "Dad, I'm embarrassed about this. I can't offer excuses. I wish she was different, but it seems like she's stubborn — like you!"

After that, both parties should be responsible for their relationship.

DEAR AMY: I related to the letter from "Still in Stitches," who was not provided the help she needed after an operation.

For many years I cared for my husband during various hospitalizations. So I was surprised when I was virtually ignored after a painful back operation.

The next time my husband entered the room I explained in detail that if our situation was reversed I would do "this and this and this" for him and now needed him to do the same for me.

And he did!

People can learn and will step up when necessary.

Rather than remaining silent and resentful, "Still in Stitches" can ask for help.

— Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree that this person expected her family to learn by her example; she should have made her expectations clear.

Send questions via email to Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.

Filed under: Lifestyles
Tagged: ask amy

1 Comment on this post:

By: NewYorker1 on 6/29/12 at 8:22

DEAR WORRIED: Girl, leave him. This is only the beginning of drama. It's best to cut all ties now and save yourself from his bullsh_ t.

DEAR LOYAL: Your daughter should return his check and write a little note on it that say "Baby, get over it. Have a nice life."