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Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Q. My husband travels by car all week long for his job. He feels the need to be in constant contact with me via his smartphone.

He calls and e-mails constantly while on the road.

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Even though I work part time, he feels I should be in constant communication with him.

I admit it was fun while we were dating, but I no longer have that much to say during the umpteenth phone conversation that day. Plus I’m too busy to constantly answer his texts, e-mails, and phone calls.

He feels it’s my responsibility to talk to him while he’s away from home. I have very little downtime, and while I want to talk to him two or three times a day, 10 texts and 10 calls is too much for me.

How can I get him to understand that it is not that I don’t love him or want to talk with him, but I just don’t have that much to say!

I’d like to have an hour each day to read or catch up with others instead of talking to him.

A. Your husband may be using his contact with you as a way to pass the time between sales calls (or appointments) when he’s tooling through lonely towns in his car. (At least, that’s how I picture him, passing through lonely towns in his car with only the occasional conversation with a friendly truck-stop server to break up the monotony.)

My first suggestion is that you two negotiate a settlement to (at least) cut in half the number of phone calls during the day. It is not your responsibility to take all of his calls, regardless of whatever else you have on your plate.

Your husband needs to realize that the less time you spend responding to his calls, the more time you will have to build up some good old-fashioned longing for him.

Before his next trip, spirit a little surprise into his car. Stick a note to the steering wheel that reads, “I can’t wait to talk to you tonight, Honey.” This might inspire him to hold off on calling until day’s end.

My second suggestion involves downloading the audio version of a few good books onto your husband’s phone. This might inspire him to take in a little literature or learning while he’s tooling around. This could transform his business week.

Q. My spouse and I were at a holiday celebration, also attended by one of my spouse’s co-workers. As I was chatting with a small group of revelers, including the co-worker (but not my spouse), the co-worker confided that he might soon leave his job.

He then asked if I would please not say anything about that to my spouse, and I agreed. He is in a senior management position (a rung or two up from my spouse). However, this seems like useful information for my spouse to know. Whose back should I have in this situation?

A. You should have your spouse’s back. And that is why you should never have agreed after the fact to keep something from said spouse.

Let’s assume that all of you had been “reveling” at this holiday party. I’m wondering if your judgment was impaired when you made this agreement. If you were impaired at the time, then this gives you some wiggle room.

The most ethical thing is for you to contact this co-worker and tell him you should not have agreed to keep this private. If this is unrealistic, skip this step and tell your spouse about the conversation. You both should realize that this revel-fueled information may not be correct.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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