August 4, 2010 in Features

Carolyn Hax: Wife angry hubby helped neighbor

Carolyn Hax Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: My husband of 10 years, who is retired, calls me at work one morning and tells me he had just gotten out the shower when our female next-door neighbor rang the doorbell in her nightclothes, stating that she got locked out when she took out the trash. My husband then says he invited her in to use the phone and stay until someone came to let her in (about 30-45 minutes).

I ask him, “Why would you invite a half-dressed woman into our home when I am not present?”

I was very disappointed with how he handled this situation. He says he would do it again exactly the same way, even if it upsets me, and says I am insecure. Any suggestions? – E.

Your husband is retired and home. You are employed and at work. If your husband wanted to cheat on you, then he wouldn’t need to wait for opportunity to come knocking in her nightie.

There are a lot of people out there – OK, me, but I can’t be alone in this – who would be horrified if their spouse’s response to a nightied neighbor in need were to strand said neighbor on the front porch. Have you ever been caught in public in your skivvies? Offering shelter is the compassionate thing to do.

And her 45 minutes of shelter didn’t cost you anything – not unless it led to a tryst. And if it led to a tryst, then that says your distress over this incident is misplaced: It’s your marriage that needs your full and sustained attention.

I suspect that your husband hasn’t done anything sketchy, and you merely regard infidelity as a real and constant threat. (Yes, that’s the get-counseling light flashing.) If so, you owe it to both of you to admit how corrosive this outlook can be. It motivates you to doubt him no matter how faithful or devoted – or transparent – he is.

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

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