Ask Amy: The couple continues to play out the dynamic left over from their mutual infidelities

Dear Amy: My husband has girls from work who text him. Sometimes these are work-related, sometimes not.

When I stress that I don’t like it, he says it’s nothing to worry about. He also says that acting like they are his friends is unattractive to me and I need to get over it.

I don’t give my phone number to other men.

I know he’s flirtatious (whether he realizes it or not). Girls flatter him because he is such an attractive and nice guy.

If the situation were reversed and I received messages from men, he would hate it. He feels comfortable with this double standard.

I’m at my wits end because he just doesn’t get it.

We’ve had infidelity issues in the past (on both sides) and I don’t trust his or anyone else’s intentions.

Am I wrong if I feel this way?

– upset

Dear Angry Ones: You are not “wrong” if you feel the way you do. Your feelings are your feelings and you are allowed to have them.

However, because you and your husband have a history of infidelity and lack of trust (certainly on your part), you have not “normalized” friendships, work relationships, and communication between people.

You don’t give men your phone number. Why not? Don’t you have the right to communicate with male colleagues and friends?

I assume this is because you are trying to demonstrate behavior that you want your husband to reflect.

Well, he doesn’t go into it.

You could do some work yourself to rebalance your attitude towards your friendships with men by striving to understand how a relaxed, confident, and totally trustworthy friendship with a man would feel to you.

Your husband makes fun of your anxiety and behavior when it comes up. Yes, your reaction may be “unattractive,” but it’s unkind of him to throw that at you when he could – and should – reassure you.

Standard practice in rebuilding trust is to share any contact that causes anxiety in the partner. So he would show you his messages, tell you who he is getting calls from (or is calling), and you would do the same.

And even if he’s a yummy charmer in the world, he should always put you first.

You both continue to play out the dynamic left over from your mutual infidelities.

You could take this into the office of an experienced counselor and come away with a new understanding and a new way of interacting.

Dear Amy, I’ve received two college degrees and I’m not sure what to do.

The first comes from a friend whose daughter graduated from a prestigious college.

When she graduated from high school, we attended her graduation and brought a gift that was personalized, unique, and useful for years to come.

We never received a thank you. I personally picked it out and made sure we received it well in advance of her graduation. When we went to her party, she barely acknowledged us.

I know she might be different four or five years later, but it’s still irritating.

The second graduate is the son of a niece we haven’t met since he was a baby, if ever.

We received an announcement of his graduation.

Coincidentally, both graduates went to the same university, even though they don’t know each other.

My plan is simply to send greetings cards to everyone. am i small minded

What is your suggested course of action? Should I still enclose a check?

– wonder

Dear Astonishment: Because one of these young people is a stranger and the other has a bit of a history with you, you should first and foremost think about what would make YOU feel best.

Would it do you any good to ignore the ungrateful graduate? (It could…).

I would probably send both of them a card and a very modest amount, congratulate them and tell them their first post-grad cappuccino (or martini) is on you.

You will not be thanked.

Dear Amy, You are so good at what you do, but I wish life was as easy as you think it is.

My wife and I spend many days discussing your advice. I’ll read a letter out loud and we’ll both try to guess what you’re going to say.

After we’ve both had our turn, I do the “reveal” and we decide who’s closer.

– Randy

Dear Randy: Many families report doing this together – and it makes me very happy. Thanks very much!

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

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