June 4, 2010 in Features

Carolyn Hax: Tell husband how his fame affects you

Carolyn Hax Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: Husband is local celebrity chef, who quickly gained notoriety during our first four years of marriage. This created some conflict with “foodie groupies,” and my husband’s inability to lay down boundaries when they hug, kiss, or hit on him at local events.

I am accused of being jealous and insecure when I mention that it makes me uncomfortable. Duh.

Husband has now received a job offer with even more notoriety and recognition on a national level. I will have to appear with him at social events that I despise.

How does one act at such events, especially when women elbow me out of the way to get to my husband? – J.

This isn’t about how to act at events. (Duh.)

This is about your resentment and finding a place to put it.

And that, in turn, is about how you can reconcile your husband’s delight in his fame with your utter contempt for it. It can be a short answer, really: If you can’t be happy for him, and dismiss groupies as a minor annoyance, then his fame will come between you.

I realize that makes it sound as if you’re the only one with responsibilities here, which of course is never true in a marriage.

But your husband has made his position clear: He likes the attention. He likes these events. He likes life as a rising star. Admittedly, it sounds as if his way of telling you was petulant and defensive.

Nevertheless, his position delineates your options. It says the boundary question is asked and answered; he’s not setting them. It says you might as well get used to these events and, if you attend, getting elbowed occasionally. It says that, no, this isn’t the marriage you thought you signed up for – but it’s the marriage you’ve got.

Instead of focusing on events and strange women, seek your husband’s help with the bigger issues – namely, why does his career threaten you so, and where do you fit in?

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