Walking leads to relationship workout

Dear Amy: My husband began walking for exercise with a female friend.

Over time, I noticed that he was constantly checking his phone or texting her throughout the day.

His mood would be very different if she couldn’t walk that day.

I know that he asked her over to our house, telling her that I would be out of town.

He would also make plans to call her during his walks when he and I were away from home. He would never talk to her in my presence.

I finally sat down and had a talk with him, explaining how this made me feel.

He assured me that his contact with her was all completely innocent.

He would not acknowledge asking her to come to our house when I was gone.

I asked to see their exchange of texts, and he refused.

Since it was clear that he was not willing to acknowledge my feelings, I talked to the female friend myself and told her exactly what my husband and I had discussed. She ended their walking routine.

My husband is very angry because of the things I said to her.

Was I wrong?

Shouldn’t husbands and wives be open about sharing texts?

– Upset

Dear Upset: Over the course of most marriages, partners don’t reflexively share all of their outside communications with one another, but you and your husband are at an inflection point, and a marriage counselor might suggest that your husband share his texts with you as a way to establish – or re-establish – trust. Oftentimes, this sort of transparency is an important step in moving forward.

You went above and beyond to interrupt the relationship that you believe was threatening your marriage, and while your husband is angry and defensive now, if you two are able to repair your relationship, he might come to grudgingly admire your fierce defense of your union.

Dear Amy: My husband of five years walked out on me last year.

He had been slowly shutting me out. He refused to get a joint checking account with me. Later, I discovered that he was sharing a checking account with his father.

He was becoming increasingly irritable whenever I would attempt to have serious discussions about our future.

Last year was actually the third time he’s walked out on me, but this time he filed for divorce.

When he left, he took just about every item we’d purchased together, including my car, and my portion of the money that was in our savings account. I also found out that he’d been telling mutual friends during the previous year that I was a burden to him.

Now, he wants to start spending time with me, in order to (in his words), "Make sure that I’m OK," due to the struggles I’ve faced since being laid off because of COVID, and having to pay past due balances on bills that he left me with.

We’ve been sleeping together, and he’s told me that he still loves me.

Our divorce is final, and I’ve done my best to move on, but now I’m stumped because I do still love him a great deal.

I know I should probably kick him to the curb, but he seems sincere. Should I run away screaming or should I give him another chance?

– Dazed, Sad, and Confused

Dear Dazed: Thank you for providing the raw material for a "slam dunk."

In this context, if you gave this irresponsible and selfish user the old "heave ho," it would provide a slam dunk for both of us: I would seem very sage and confident, but – most importantly – you would seem very sage and confident, as well as getting your own life back.

You don’t need to "run away, screaming." HE is the one who needs to go.

Dear Amy: "Looking for Guidance" described post-pandemic life as a cancer patient who now must always wear a mask.

I really appreciated your acknowledgment that for some people, mask-wearing is not really optional. I especially liked this sentence: "Your illness and survival is not an excuse to wear a mask – it is a reason to wear a mask."

Thank you also for saying that the next time you have a cold or flu, YOU will wear a mask.

– Appreciative

Dear Appreciative: I’ve noticed an uptick in colds recently in my little circle, presumably as a result of our re-emergence. I’m glad I’ve still got "Maskie" (yes, I’ve named it) at the ready.