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Jealous Husband Makes His Own Misery

Western Producer July 12, 1984

Q: We have two phones in our house. My best friend called me one day, very upset about her health problem. Before she said anything, she asked if the other phone was in us. I said, "Yes", as I knew my husband would have heard it ring and likely would be picking it up as well. My friend then told me to call her again, when I could.

My husband came storming at me, wanting to know what "that was all about", and "what did that so and so have to say", that he shouldn’t know. I didn’t know, and told him so. He was furious. I was upset at his actions.

When I finally did cal her later, I found it was about her doctor’s appointment and some troubles she said she would likely get looked after, so I still don’t know what the real problem was. My friend is concerned about the upset that her call caused in our home, but was worried about something else at the time, and thought that maybe she could talk to me about it.

My husband maintains she owes him an apology, and that he should know what I know. He doesn’t plan to be friendly to her. This hurts me. She is a good friend, and we used to be together a lot.

My husband keeps going on about this, week after week. He still claims he has the right to an apology. He has had somewhat of a jealousy mature all his life, but it’s been worse the last few years.

A: Jealousy as a trait, increases and strengthens over time. The best way to react, is to let the jealous person know that they are entitled to their feelings and views, but they no not have the right to expect you to react the same way, or to dictate your actions.

The issue not that of etiquette, nor the rights to an apology. The issue is the right of two friends to discuss a private and personal matter, whether they are married or not.

Marriage does not give one person the right to rape another person’s mind. Individuals are entitled to private thoughts and feelings within marriage. Providing it does not deal with the other marriage partner, a married person has the right share his or her private thoughts and information with another friend.

There are some things you do not need to share with your partner, but of course it is important to share many things, particularly those that just deal with the two of you. For, if partners become too distance, it may reach the stage where they are no longer a couple, but merely two adults who happen to share the same bed or house.

Assert yourself with your husband. This may be difficult, but it is necessary. I will send some handouts and lists of books to help you with this task, if you write back with your name and address.

If your husband chooses not to be friendly towards your friend, that is his choice. It doesn’t mean you have to give up your friendship with her! Plan to visit your friend, whether or not you go by yourself. You have every right! Your husband will then have the responsibility of deciding whether to stay at home by himself, and be miserable, or to change his attitude towards your friend and enjoy the visits.

If he stays home and then complains about being miserable, don’t get hooked into feeling or being responsible for that misery. He has imposed it on himself, all by himself.