Dear Annie: For the five years I have been married to “Joe,” I have had the dubious privilege of enduring frequent, spur-of-the-moment overnight visits from his best friend of 40 years. Joe says “Derek” comes two or three times a week because he is too drunk to drive home. Derek is a married man with a family.
A few weeks ago when my husband’s snoring was too much, I slept on the sofa. Derek came through to use the bathroom, and I could sense him staring at me and hear his breathing. He stood there for quite some time. An hour later, he came back. I was so desperate to get out of the house that I went to work three hours early.
At first, I didn’t tell Joe because I was afraid he wouldn’t believe me, or that he would somehow make me feel as if I were overreacting – which is exactly what happened when I finally mentioned it.
I have repeatedly asked my husband to curtail some of these visits, but he won’t. Finally, two nights ago, I gave him the ultimatum – Derek or me. He countered with, “How about he comes once a week?”
I don’t really want to leave my husband. I have no place to go and have invested too much time and money in this relationship and in this house. Joe is a kind, generous, gullible person, and I believe Derek takes advantage of him. Derek’s marital problems shouldn’t become mine. Derek’s wife is aware of how unhappy I am, but she apparently likes to get him out of the house. Am I overreacting? – The Bad Guy
Dear Bad Guy: Hardly. Overnight guests who drop by two or three times a week are intrusive. If Joe were single, he could do as he pleased, but he has an obligation to be considerate of the woman who is sharing his home. He may believe once a week is a reasonable compromise, but it’s still too often to put up with a man who watches you while you sleep. Tell Joe the only way Derek can fix his marriage is by going home and dealing with it. Then put your foot down, and tell him your compromise is once a month. Any more and you are staying at a hotel.
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