Q. My husband and I went to a couple’s home for dinner. They are new friends, and we had a very nice evening and really enjoyed their company.
At the end of the evening they asked if my husband could come back another time to help fix something in their home, and he obliged. I went away for a night and he went over to help them; he says he did this so he could “get it over with and not have to spend time away from me to do this task.”
Then we had a community function in our town where volunteers hosted a BBQ. I was away again, and my husband, along with this couple, worked at the event. The next time we saw the couple the woman gave my husband a hug goodbye. This really made me anxious. Is my anxiousness justified?
A. The hug doesn’t seem weird to me at all. A lot of people in my life hug everyone, especially people they don’t see every day. As a non-hugger, I’m constantly dodging people who use hugs as a way to say hello and goodbye. Sometimes it takes me five extra minutes to leave a dinner because everyone is hugging everyone else.
I don’t know the details here, but based on what you’ve shared, I assume your husband likes this couple. That’s great — because you like this couple too. Everyone wins!
There hasn’t been any lying. No secrets, only shared activities. If you don’t feel comfortable with your husband doing social activities without you, please think about why. Friends are nice, and space can be healthy. You can’t be everything to each other.
I won’t say your feelings are justified, but they are useful — because they speak to the state of the marriage. You want to be in a relationship that feels good, even if one person is making new friends.
If you need to talk to a therapist about why you’re feeling anxious, please do. Exploring the discomfort might make your romantic relationship stronger. That’s the goal.
1). The hug didn’t “make” you anxious. You suffered anxiety when you saw the woman hug your husband. Big difference. 2). You’re using “anxiety” as an excuse to control your husband. He’s done nothing wrong. The woman did nothing wrong. But you are on the fast track to destroying your marriage.
If she was trying to hide something else that was going on, do you think she would have hugged him in front of you?
Having to tell you he helped fix something for a couple while you’re away so he wouldn’t have to spend time away from you — sounds like he’s walking on eggshells.
The real issue is that he has had these bonding experiences of working together with them, and you have only engaged in a traditional social event. Why don’t you volunteer as a couple next time so you become closer to the other couple as well, rather than feel like an outsider?
It all sounds benign to me, but to be honest, I wouldn’t enjoy another woman crossing that boundary, either.
Some people are huggers. I am from a big Italian family and we are all huggers. The fact that you are anxious about this says there’s more going on with your relationship with your husband than you’re telling us.
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