Amy, I have been married to my husband for 29 years. He is a fantastic dad to our grown children and a great husband to me.
One thing brings me a lot of stress and raises serious questions. I would like to meet with my relatives and friends in Greece, where I am originally from.
He doesn't have as much time off from work as I do, but loves taking long trips. He's a guy.
I have more time off from work, and I am given the time and the resources to travel to my homeland for a trip.
My husband and I have discussions about traveling with our kids or extorting my girlfriends for a few days. He always guilts me or makes me afraid to go, and sometimes he threatens me with divorce if I go. We end up having a lot of fights about this.
Otherwise, he permits me to do whatever he wants to do. He will absolutely not see a psychiatrist. Sometimes, I feel trapped because I have to make my case every time for reasons I want to go anywhere.
I wish I had a magic coat to aid him understand that it is important for me to be with my family and to occasionally take overnight trips to see individuals in order to stay connected.
Do you have any suggestions?
Dear Homebound: And instead of controlling your time away from your house, your husband "lets you do whatever you want to do."
Yes, marriage is fueled by compromise, but one partner should not be effective in charge.
The most heartfelt assumption is that your husband feels anxious about staying away from home, and he responds to his anxiety by acting out and trying to control you.
I suggest that you sit down with him and say, "Over the next 12 months, I will be away from home for a total of 14 [or whatever number] nights. This includes a trip to Greece, and an overnight or two with the kids or my friends. I'd love for you to come with me to Greece if you can swing it. I understand that this is difficult for you."
If your relatively short sojourns away from home encourage him to threaten divorce or emotionally punish you, then you must decide whether or not you agree to it in order to stay with him.
The dangers of divorce are an extremely manipulative tool to try to control you, created by someone who is completely out of control. These dangers actually weaken your relationship. If this is his "go to" nuclear option, then you should call him on it.
Amy, my best friend, has the numbing habit of pinning me.
If I upgrade my phone, she gives me a boost. If I buy a designer purse, she'll purchase the same brand.
If I tell her I've had lunch in a nearby town, she'll ask where and then book a table.
I spend time researching what I purchase, where I shop, and new places to visit.
It feels like she uses me as a concierge or personal shopper.
I joked with my husband, "Let's see how long it takes her to purchase one such a thing." Over time, however, her behavior has worn thin. It irritates me.
Is she a seasoned professional? Envious? Clueless?
She sometimes does the same thing with her daughters.
I hope you may offer a fresh perspective that will enable me to engage with her.
Dear Copied: The "appropriate" response is to feel like it's gone.
Your actual response is to feel irritated. Part of the joy of your curation-experience is to discover special items or experiences that are unique to you.
Say, "I'm not "supposed" to feel this way, but honestly, when you duplicate my purchases, I notice it, and... it disturbs me."
Amy's wife and I'll have our anniversary celebration for the end of July, with more than 100 guests from nearby cities and a few from outside the country on our invite list.
When should we send invitations?
Do you know what makes it possible?
Dear Wondering: July may be a busy month for people who are already encroach on their summer plans.
Send a "Save the Date" email right now, noting the details and requesting that people place them on their calendars.
Send your invitation in late-May or early June; this will allow everyone to RSVP for a few weeks.
Amy Dickinson may get an email at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.