Q. I am a married woman in my mid-60s, now retired. My sister (who is divorced) invited me on a “girl’s trip” to hike the Scottish Highlands. We live on opposite coasts and do not see each other often.
When I told my husband about the trip, he gave me major pushback. Some of his objections are: 1. I would be spending our money on a vacation just for myself. (We are not rich, but this would be affordable.) 2. As a married woman, I should be reserving my travels for my husband, not with single women. 3. This will only lead to other trips without him. 4. He does not “believe” in girls’ trips.
My husband is very controlling. He would definitely make my life miserable if I accepted this invitation, so I turned it down, since I have to live with him. But what is more upsetting is that instead of being happy for me for getting an opportunity to do something fun and enriching, he is resentful and obstructionist.
He did say that he will only agree if he comes along, despite the fact that he has never wanted to do a trip like this!
Am I in need of counseling? We have been married for 30 years and have had our ups and downs. I’d love to hear your take.
A. “Girls’ trips” and “guys’ trips” are not articles of faith that a person needs to “believe in.” These sojourns, which range from simple afternoon hikes or rounds of golf to overseas excursions (like your sister’s) can be emotional ports of call for people, providing a way to reconnect with family members or friends without the pressure of performing for — or entertaining — spouses, partners, or children.
And — big bonus — many people return from these trips renewed and very happy to see their partners.
Many happily-together couples leave space for one another to take occasional trips like this, budgeting their funds accordingly.
It is ironic that your husband is insisting to go with you, all while he is demonstrating that he is probably the last person you would want to go anywhere with.
I would say that he is correct in this one regard: Yes, this will lead to you taking other trips without him — in your case, into the office of a counselor and/or a lawyer.
This episode has revealed your husband’s deep insecurity, expressed in his effort to repress, manipulate, and control you.
Q. More than 10 years ago I left an emotionally abusive relationship. On the way out, he threatened my life and took several thousand dollars from me as “payment” for the emotional turmoil he said I’d caused him, and as an assurance that he would never contact me again.
I have managed to avoid him for the better part of 12 years, until the past few months when he has begun to accept invitations from a mutual friend with whom I’ve held a close relationship throughout this time. The friend is aware of our past relationship, but not the circumstances. Due to embarrassment for allowing myself to have been treated so poorly, I’ve told almost no one the details.
Now I’m torn whether to tell the mutual friend that I cannot attend group events with this person. I don’t want to give up the friendship, or dictate who someone else may invite to their own home, but I can’t stomach being in the presence of this abuser.
Should I say something?
A. Yes, you should say something — to the police. Theft/extortion is a very serious crime. And if you two made a tacit “no contact” deal, isn’t he close to violating it by inching closer to your social circle?
In terms of your mutual friend, you should make it clear that you will not be in the same room with your ex. Ask to be told if he is included in an invitation.
Q. I was extremely disappointed in your answer to “Leech BFF,” who mentioned sharing her streaming password with her “mooching” friend.
This is stealing!
A. Scores of readers objected to the fact that I neglected to label this as theft. And even though this is true, it is so widely done that streaming services are now cracking down on this sort of “sharing.”
According to news accounts, starting next year, Netflix will now allow only one “home” per account, and additional homes will need to pay extra to use the same account.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.