Dear Amy: My husband of just under two years does things behind my back that he knows would hurt me.
While we were dating we promised exclusivity to each other.
I was true to him, and he continued to date approximately 30 women for a year and a half. I stumbled on his “rating” spreadsheet after we were living together.
He recently made arrangements to meet up with his former spouse while I was safely away at work.
I feed birds, squirrels and chipmunks in our backyard and love watching them. While I was not home, he took an air rifle and over the course of a few months’ time, killed every chipmunk.
One day last week I was returning home from work and saw him running in the front yard with the air rifle, firing at a small rabbit. I admonished him because he could hit a child riding by on his bike, or a mom strolling with her baby.
We have done counseling before. He participates only until he is bored.
He told me that he is going to do what he wants to do, and he does not care how I feel about that.
— At My Wits End Wife
Dear End: My intention is not to alarm you, but you’ve asked for help, and I want to make sure that you have clarity about my opinion concerning the future of your marriage.
It needs to end.
Regular readers know how seldom I say this to married people:
Do not enter counseling with your husband. Don’t bargain, set limits, or agree to attempts at reconciliation.
Leave this relationship.
Please be careful while you do so.
The way you present things, in addition to never being honest with you, this man seems quite dangerous. Furthermore, his aggression seems to be escalating.
People who kill small and truly defenseless animals (not for food) sometimes accelerate their violence.
To research ways to stay safe as you leave your relationship, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has lots of helpful and important information and tips on their website: thehotline.org. You can also call their helpline to speak with a counselor: (800) 799-7233.
Dear Amy: “Mary,” “Tracy” and I have been dear friends for 15 years.
About three years ago, Mary married “Steve.” Steve is a lovely, generous man — when he is not drinking. When he drinks he becomes very handsy with me, with Tracy, and with any other woman in the area.
He kisses us on the lips, grabs us, hugs us, etc., all in front of Mary and our own partners.
We gently try to divert him or squirm away, but have never forcefully said, “That’s not appropriate.”
Recently we all spent a weekend away together, and he was terrible! Mary either chooses not to see what is happening or is truly clueless.
She also seems to be a little insecure in some ways in her marriage.
Tracy and I are worried that if we strongly say “stop” to him, or if we sit down with Mary and tell her how uncomfortable he makes us, then our friendship will be wounded — if not destroyed.
We imagine that she would support her husband and tell us that we are overreacting.
At this point we don’t want to spend any future weekends with them.
Do you have any suggestions of ways we could broach this topic without destroying a 15-year friendship?
— Hands Off
Dear Hands Off: It’s vital that you remember that “Mary” is not causing or creating this problem. “Steve” is the problem, and so you should deal directly with him.
Tell this lovely, generous man (when he is sober), “The last time we saw you, you kissed me. You behave this way whenever you’re drunk. I’m letting you know that if you ever touch me inappropriately again, I’m going to call you out.”
If this breaks wide open into an incident (unchecked, that’s where his behavior is headed), and Mary witnesses this assault and then denies or defends him, understand that she may feel trapped in a situation quite out of her depth.
Urge her toward Al-anon (Al-anon.org), and keep your distance from Steve, but not from her.
Dear Amy: “Casual?” wrote to you about her current relationship, and the fact that she is looking for “her person.”
You encouraged her, telling her that “he’s out there.”
What about telling her that she already has “her person,” and that is: herself?!
Dear Disappointed: A wonderful answer, and absolutely true. Thank you.