DEAR AMY: My wife has two part-time jobs. She works in retail marketing and she also works as a tutor for an ACT/SAT test prep service. I'm concerned about what happens when she gets home. She will oftentimes go on and on about details regarding her co-workers and their lives away from the store. Or she will cite specific details about things that are happening in her workplace or what is going on with the students she's tutoring. I feel that this is truly none of my business. I think she's compromising these people's right to privacy. It is just totally inappropriate and a betrayal of the trust these co-workers, companies and families have put in her. I've asked her many times not to share this information, but she looks upon it as merely venting her frustrations of her respective positions. She also feels since I am her spouse, it is perfectly fine to tell me things, confidential or not. Amy, do you have any thoughts on this? Is it fair that these people who put their trust in her are being betrayed behind their backs?
Fingers In My Ears Aren't Enough
DEAR FINGERS: Your wife no doubt thinks of her behavior as the answer to the question: "How was your day, honey?" You are implying that she is sharing proprietary information about her co-workers, clients and the students she is tutoring, but you don't present any specific evidence that her recitation is anything more than telling you stuff about her work and the people she works for and with.
This sounds like a "Mars/Venus" situation to me. In a stereotypical example, a woman tries to create intimacy by "sharing" or venting, while the man is more comfortable "advising." I agree that your wife should be circumspect about her young tutoring clients, but telling you what they are like or describing their challenges (for instance) doesn't sound like a breach of confidence (to me).
If your wife is violating her business' or her clients' legal and propriety information, then yes -- she should stop. If she is telling you about the people she is working with or describing her current workplace challenges and triumphs, then you should not shut her down.
It sounds as if you are sick of listening to your wife talk. But that's another issue altogether.
DEAR AMY: My sibling recently married someone the sibling had known for several years. The two seem happy. So here's the problem. The "Spouse" has anxiety issues (which "Sibling" knew about) that keeps Spouse from traveling, attending community or social activities, or events with anyone but Spouse's immediate family. Sibling does not have this problem and wants to travel, attend the above mentioned events, eat out, meet new friends, etc. Sibling is feeling less content with Spouse wanting to just hang around home after work and weekends. Sibling is not a party animal, but enjoys getting out now and then. Sibling seems to accept that Spouse is not going to change anytime soon and wants to hang out with me to travel, socialize, etc., etc. If I tell Sibling it's OK to hang out with me, am I just enabling Spouse to not deal with this problem? Should Sibling just grin and bear it and learn to be a total homebody? I respect your advice and would really like your common-sense approach to this issue. -- Uncertain "Sib"
DEAR UNCERTAIN: You should not be attempting to manage "Sibling's" relationship with "Spouse." Nor should you even imagine that you can somehow influence (or force) Spouse to deal with problems that are really none of your business -- and beyond your capabilities.
If Sibling wants to hang with you -- and if that's what you want -- then enjoy yourselves.
DEAR AMY: "Worried" has a pregnant sister-in-law who is addicted to Percocet.
She should consider informing Child Protective Services. Depending on the state's laws, CPS may get involved during the pregnancy and require drug testing to protect the fetus. Perhaps a prenatal visit from CPS will serve as a wake-up call to the father-to-be so that he stops dismissing as unimportant something that could harm his child.
Deb in CO
DEAR DEB: Thank you.