DEAR AMY: My husband and I both enjoy your wisdom, that is why I am writing to you. I am a 62-year-old woman, who along with my husband went to a party at a friends’ house. I have known this couple since high school. During the party, I was standing in the kitchen when the husband groped me (he squeezed my breast). I told my husband about it afterward. He confronted the man immediately and the man denied doing it but said he was sorry if he did. Now my husband insists that we sever our friendship with this couple. We both like the wife very much. My husband wants to tell the wife why we are severing our friendship, but I say to let it go and don’t tell her about it because it will only make her feel bad and she doesn’t deserve this added heartache. This man had a stroke within the last 18 months but had been offensive to at least two of my girlfriends prior to this stroke. — Please Help
DEAR PLEASE: “I didn’t do it but I’m sorry if I did” is a terrible acknowledgment and apology. You say this man has “been offensive” to other women before his stroke, so I assume that his stroke is not a factor in his behavior.
You should be the primary person to decide how much contact you are willing to tolerate with this man, although surely you can understand your husband’s protective reaction.
You feel strongly about protecting the wife from the reality of her husband’s behavior, but don’t you think she has the right to know why your friendship has hit such a skid? Do you all realize that groping is a crime?
If you feel able, you should confront the husband, either in person or via phone or mail. Somebody has to call him on his behavior. Silence buys him more opportunities to grope women.
DEAR AMY: My husband is rather lazy. I have to nag at him constantly or threaten to leave him in order to get him to do simple things (mainly cleaning) that every grown man should do without being told or asked like a child. He plays on his video games on his days off because he works 63 hours a week. I also work a full-time job (42.5 hours), look after the kids and pets, and do all other household chores. He has been helping a little recently, but on his days off he does not even attempt to clean anything until I get home to help. He doesn’t clean at all unless I clean at the same time. Am I being unreasonable to ask him to clean a little while I’m at work? I’m not expecting the whole house to be cleaned and I have told him this. This causes huge fights. I’m to the point of being emotionally void in my marriage. — Exhausted
DEAR EXHAUSTED: It’s a stretch to call someone who works 63 hours a week “lazy,” but your point is that your husband has enough energy for his job and video games, but not enough energy to be a full partner in the household.
Nagging doesn’t work. Threatening to leave is the nuclear option and since you’ve already used it and you haven’t left, your husband probably thinks these threats are empty. The impact on you is very real, however. Feeling like an exhausted nag isn’t good for you — or your family.
You might have more success if you “gamify” the process. Since your husband is a gamer, ask him to work with you to create a game for the whole family (including kids), where you are each on your hero’s journey over the course of a week to complete tasks and earn rewards. (For instance, unloading the dishwasher earns 30 minutes of game time.) If your husband can design a simple game, ask him to also run it. He doesn’t seem to feel he has a stake in the household but if he is administering the game, he might actually get his head in it.
DEAR AMY: My favorite part of your answer to “Concerned Relative,” who was worried about polyamory, was when you said that for older relatives, our job is to judge and try to guide. We don’t hear that often enough these days. — Fan
DEAR FAN: “To judge” in this context means to exercise judgment and to share your point of view — not to be judgmental.