Dear Annie: My husband is an amazing man. He is selfless and has uncompromising integrity. He is well-known and well-respected in our small community. I am proud to be his wife.
I am 19 years my husband’s junior, and this, along with his well-deserved reputation, casts a huge shadow over me. I understand some of this can’t be helped, but why must people treat me as though I am some kind of accessory? I am a fairly intelligent woman, and although I am attractive, I don’t present myself as a bimbo. The real problem, however, is that my husband not only doesn’t seem to notice or care when his “fans” treat me rudely, it’s almost as if he goes out of his way to be extra nice to these very same people.
I have accused him of building his ego by making me feel inferior. Am I crazy? He claims I am overreacting. His own brother said to me, “You were a nobody until you married my brother.” How do you think my husband should react to these situations? – Mrs. Nobody
Dear Mrs.: He should make it clear that he is also proud of his wife. There is often an assumption when Mr. Big Shot marries a much younger woman that she is simply a trophy wife. Your husband either agrees or likes to give that impression. Women in these marriages have to work quite hard to establish an independent identity. People don’t know you. So get on the boards of some charitable foundations. Volunteer at your church. Start a literacy program or a food drive. If you want to develop a reputation as a smart, capable woman, you must do something to promote it instead of relying on your unsupportive husband to do it for you.