Ask Amy

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:05pm

DEAR AMY: I would like your advice on how to handle a growing problem in my marriage. My husband has become increasingly conservative politically. He has moved away from formerly moderate views and is now very right wing.

A recent poll he took ranked him in the most conservative 9 percent of people in the country. I have been a lifelong Democrat and continue to support liberal viewpoints. This has resulted in some heated arguments between us.

My husband claims that if I don't agree with him it's because I'm not listening. He refuses to acknowledge any validity to my opinions. He criticizes and mocks any Democratic politician or supporter. In the heat of an argument, he has said that if I can't agree with him, we should just get divorced.

I even voted for Mitt Romney in November to avoid a fight, not because I supported him for president. How can I resolve this? Can Democrats and Republicans have a happy relationship?

— Democrat in Hiding

DEAR DEMOCRAT: Democrats and Republicans can have happy relationships, but unhappy, combative and intolerant people probably can't.

I don't understand why you would value your own rights so little that you would throw your vote away on a candidate you didn't support. I also don't understand why you would disclose to your husband whom you chose to vote for in the privacy of the voting booth. This is your business, not his.

You should assume at this point that politics is a placeholder for other problems in your marriage.

If your husband is bullying, mocking or threatening you by playing the divorce card in the heat of a political argument, then you should take this as a sign that unless you and he find a new way to talk (and listen) to each other your marriage is in deep trouble.

A marriage counselor could help you get to the bottom of your reactions to each other and help you learn to interact more respectfully. You should be able to respect each other personally, even when you disagree about politics.

DEAR AMY: I am over 40 and seeing a divorced woman several years older than I. She has been divorced for more than eight years.

She belongs to a health club that I am against her going to. Over the years, she has had many intimate encounters with men she met there, including a sexual romp with a trainer at the club. She says he no longer works there.

I have asked her to go to another gym, but she won't. She claims this gym is convenient for her and there are no all-female gyms in the area.

I have no issues with her going to another coed gym. What do you think? Why won't she give up that gym? Do I have a right to be upset that she goes there, knowing her past at this gym?

— Sad

DEAR SAD: You feel how you feel, and you have a right to your feelings. However, you don't have a right to forbid the woman you are dating from going to her gym.

You know her relationship and sexual history. I assume you believe her version of her own life. It's much harder to trust your girlfriend than to insist that she remove herself from her stomping grounds. But your request is unreasonable, and she doesn't want to give in to you because she doesn't want you to control her.

She should respect your discomfort by asking you to join her during workouts, but removing her from her gym does not remove temptation from her life. Dealing with trust is a real workout for you. You'd better suit up.

DEAR AMY: The letter from "Concerned Fiance" had to do with an older couple whose marriage was in trouble because the husband wanted to maintain a "polyamorous" lifestyle.

Well, for this math to work out, both parties need to embrace this lifestyle. Otherwise it's a deal-breaker.

— Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree that polyamory is by necessity a state that requires mutual consent.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com. 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

3 Comments on this post:

By: PKVol on 1/2/13 at 9:26

I've been married for 14 years and don't know how my wife has ever voted. I have my assumptions, but I have no idea how she voted, I've never asked and she's never told me, besides, what happens in the voting booth is private, so even is she told me one thing, she could have done the complete opposite.

By: NewYorker1 on 1/2/13 at 11:27

These stories are good examples of why I am single. I wish somebody would tell me how to vote or which gym I should join. I would slap the holly sh!t out of them.

By: BNAsteve on 1/2/13 at 3:31

Oh, NewYorker1, that's a funny one! But seriously, there's a very good reason why you are single. Anyone who has ever been around you in person will see the same pathetic, hateful and scornful person who appears in your written posts. Please get over being single, because you're unlikely to ever find someone who wants to marry you.