DEAR AMY: I have been married to my husband for two years. We dated for two years before marrying. Somehow, he managed to hide a pornography addiction, excessive alcohol use and a temper that parallels that of a maniac. The pornography and secret drinking (hiding bottles) began emerging eight months ago. He has always had a temper. We cannot discuss our “differences” without him screaming, ranting and walking out. He has left to stay with family members at least three times. I constantly live with the threat of him leaving. Each time he does this, he throws me under the bus to his family. He has not once told them the truth about what has actually happened, and now his family members think I am a monster. My question is this: Do I tell his family the truth? It is becoming increasing difficult to deal with the underside of the bus and their cold shoulders. I really want to stay in the marriage, but do not trust my husband. I find it difficult to keep forgiving him.
DEAR SAD: Your husband’s family might believe your version of events, but it might not matter that much. They are his family; they will take his side, and take him in.
If you are close to one of his family members, you should ask if your husband has a pattern of behaving this way. Family members might be aware of his addiction issues and his habit of leaving when things get tough.
You and your husband might be able to work things out, but — based on what you report — he may have serious problems, which would require professional help. He would need to commit to seeing a counselor with you, as well as a commitment to work on his addiction issues.
For now, you should be relieved that his response to trouble is “flight” rather than “fight.”
Despite the fact that you want to stay in the marriage, it doesn’t sound safe for you.
DEAR AMY: My girlfriend of five years, “Sandra,” and I have recently been going through a rough patch. We’re still very much in love, but there are major life decisions looming that we need to come to terms with if we are to stay together happily. Recently, Sandra has reconnected with “Marion,” a friend from college. They are trying to repair their relationship after a major fallout. Marion invited Sandra to a party recently, with the permission to “bring friends,” but Sandra is hesitant to bring me along. Apparently, Marion had expressed quite forcefully during their fallout that I was a terrible person. Sandra and I have no idea why she would feel this way, but Sandra said to me, “She’s just like that, sometimes.” Do I attend Marion’s party, now that I know how she truly feels about me? I’ve attended her parties before and have never received an odd look or mean word from her. Many of my friends will be going, and they’ve assumed I’d be there by virtue of historical precedent. On the one hand, I don’t want to cause tension, and would hate to make Marion feel uncomfortable in her own home. On the other hand, she did say my girlfriend could “bring friends,” and she knows I’m at the top of that list. Furthermore, I don’t feel entirely comfortable being left at home while Sandra attempts to repair relations with someone who, apparently, is rooting for our relationship to fail. As of now I’m leaning toward just not attending, but I’d love your take on the situation.
Caught Off Guard
DEAR CAUGHT: You should go. Dive right in. You are “Sandra’s” long-time boyfriend, her presumed “plus-one,” and definitely her friend.
My main questions are for your girlfriend, however:
Why has she permitted this person to trash you, unchallenged?
Why did she disclose her friend’s uncharitable assessment of you — to you?
Why does she want you to stay home?
You say the relationship with your girlfriend has hit a rough patch. The dynamic between the two of you is a manifestation of how flawed your relationship is right now.
DEAR AMY: I’d like to respond to the question from “Worried Parents,” the parents who wanted to talk to their young-adult daughter about the weight she had recently gained. While I liked your advice, you should have pointed out that they don’t really need to tell their daughter she has gained weight — trust me, she already knows.
DEAR BEEN THERE: Absolutely.