Wife cares more about shifting blame than spouse's feelings
Q: I've recently discovered that my wife has been communicating with her ex since last year (1,000-plus texts sent in one month!). She also has wired him money at least twice in the past month. She says it's no big deal, and thinks I'm overreacting when I discuss leaving. Am I?
A: If you're still just discussing it while she continues to insult you openly, then consider that you're underreacting.
Let's say your wife's behavior is innocent (dubious, but just for the sake of argument). If your marriage is her priority, then she'll apologize for upsetting you, and patiently explain how 1,000 texts to one's ex can be innocent.
Even if she thinks you're being unfair, paranoid, controlling, whatever — again, just for the sake of argument — and even if she thinks it's her right to choose her friends, none of those concerns would trump the need to be sympathetic to and transparent with one's spouse.
In other words: People who care about you will care about the effect they have on you.
Your wife's main concern is to shift the blame for her behavior onto you. That looks worse than 1,000 texts.
Excluded friend steamed over birthday spa trip
Q: An old friend moved back into town and was immediately welcomed by a clique of women of which I'm not a member. At first I was hurt, then I decided that "Sue's" and my friendship stands on its own and doesn't need anyone else's approval. Then Sue wrote in her annual family newsletter that she spent her 50th birthday at a spa "along with my dearest friends" — a party to which I wasn't invited. I was stunned, confronted her, and got the "I had no intention of hurting you" reply, after which I crossed her off my list. Now she's making overtures and I'm confused. I feel:
1. Angry and bitter with a sprinkle of vengeful.
2. Not awfully interested in her friendship.
3. A little ashamed at having "junior high school" feelings.
Can you help untangle?
A: By your account, the spa incident itself didn't change the fundamentals of your friendship: You still aren't part of the clique; she still is.
Presumably, Sue herself hasn't changed, and you make no mention of dramatic changes in your personality or circumstances. Plus, you're giving her an opportunity to drop you in favor of her spa friends, and she isn't taking it.
So here are the reasons we have left that Sue's spa trip will end your friendship:
1. You were okay with being excluded from the clique privately, but Sue's public announcement now has you feeling exposed and embarrassed.
2. You don't believe in hyperbole, and so are taking her at her word that these are her "dearest" friends — which means you are less dear to her.
3. You don't want to be friends with someone who talks about her spa trips in an annual family newsletter.
If any or all of these seem like worthy grounds to end the friendship, then the friendship has probably run its course. It happens.
But if none of these seems as important to you as her friendship, then you'll probably regret screening her calls.