You can now read 10 articles each month for free on BostonGlobe.com.

The Boston Globe

Magazine

Miss Conduct

Viva Las Vegas

Why a husband’s upcoming bachelor-party weekend may be a better thing than one anxious wife expects.

Lucy Truman

I am happily married 32 years. My husband’s younger brother is getting married for the second time and is planning a long bachelor-party weekend in Vegas. I’m not OK with this. Why do men have to have these lavish bachelor parties? And why do they need to go across the country? I cannot help but think it’s because they want to get in trouble in the “city of sin”! My husband asks if I trust him. I do, but I also know that two things are likely:

1) He will be dared into doing things or, being the “Vegas Virgin,” will be set up on a lot of stuff, or 2) he will drink so much that his otherwise good judgment will go out the window and ensure he gets into trouble.

We have already had several arguments. For probably the first time in our lives together, he is not backing down. What do I do?

K.F. / Brighton

What do you do? You unclench your iron grip on your husband’s . . . leash — I’m going to say “leash” because I’m a lady — is what you do.

Continue reading below

Your letter boils down to one fundamental premise: If you’re not in immediate control of your husband, someone else whose intents are less benevolent will be. If he’s not under your matriarchal grip at home, he’ll be under the sway of his man-whore brother, his bro-ho posse, and all the comped drinks he can throw down in an artificially oxygenated environment with no clocks or windows.

That’s not the description of a happy marriage. That’s the description of an ineffectively run cult.

What are you afraid of, K.F.? What do “gets into trouble” and “doing things” and “a lot of stuff” mean?

Do you mean that your husband will cheat on you? Do you think that your husband’s brother is evil enough to get him drunk and arrange to have him sexually assaulted or set him up for arrest or smear his good name? If this is truly what you are guarding against, find a marriage counselor with a background in family systems, and do it this instant, then talk to people with a deeper understanding of the dark side than a Sunday etiquette columnist.

But I suspect you’re not worried about real trouble — vow-breaking, police-record-making, lawyer-requiring, disease-acquiring trouble. I suspect you’re worried about something more aptly called “shenanigans.” In which case, so what? The shenanigans of a good-hearted, levelheaded, middle-aged person are rare and beautiful phenomena, brief and poignant and scored with Motown classics. Let him have his shenanigans, and take advantage of his absence to indulge in some of your own. Plan a theater trip to New York, a spa day, karaoke ladies’ night, whatever kind of fun you and your lady friends most enjoy and least often make time for.

Continue reading below

You say that in 32 years your husband has always backed down in your arguments. Do you realize that doesn’t say anything good? You say you trust your husband, and then explain in great detail that he is too weak-willed to be trusted. Perhaps, though, if he’s standing up to you for the first time, he might just have the wherewithal to stand up to the temptations of Las Vegas. I suggest you let him try.

P.S. There’s only one city of sin as far as this columnist is concerned, and it’s Lynn.

 Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.

ARE YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER MIRED IN YOUR OWN DILEMMA? Write to Miss Conduct at missconduct@globe.com. And read her blog at Boston.com/missconduct.

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than $1 a week