Dear Amy: I have been with my husband for 13 years. I have always been very insecure.

It makes me paranoid when he texts other women, even if it's just friendly.

I check his phone and see that he has deleted texts. This really bothers me, but he says he does it because it bothers me when he texts other women, even when there is nothing bad in the texts. That's true.

I have made a very bad situation in my marriage. My husband is exasperated by my behavior. I don't know how to help my insecurities. They are irrational. I know that, but it gets in my head to check his phone.

I did stop checking for a while when I got into a good spot in my head. But recently I did it again. I feel like I am fighting a battle with myself, and I don't know how to win. Why do I get this urge? How do I stop it?

And how do I fix the damage I have done to my marriage?

— My Own Worst Enemy

Dear My Own Worst Enemy: You and your husband are in a loop. Marriage counseling would be a great idea for both of you.

However, you take full responsibility, and it seems to me that your husband definitely plays his part.

The common and often-suggested solution when there is suspicion in a relationship is for full transparency.

You wouldn’t be triggered into your unhealthy phone-checking if your husband simply shared these conversations with you: “Sharon said the funniest thing about a movie she just saw. It’s hilarious. Check it out... .”

If you are secretly checking his phone and he knows it, he should bring this communication into the realm of your relationship and hand his phone to you.

You say that you recently stopped checking his phone — “when you got into a good spot,” but I suggest that you might have gotten into a good spot because you had stopped checking his phone. The behavior itself triggers your insecurity.

You can both consciously alter your behavior to be full and trusting partners.

Dear Amy: A year ago, my best friend, "Terri" got her real estate license. She has been working very hard to build her clientele. She has succeeded in selling two homes and being the buyer's agent for three home sales.

My husband and I want to buy a home soon, and I'm conflicted on whether to hire her as our agent. She's a wonderful friend, and we've been through thick and thin together.

I want to do everything I can to support my friend in her new career. I think she has excellent qualities, and she would do a good job for us.

I also worry that she would be hurt if we didn't choose her.

However, my husband is nervous about her lack of experience, and I worry that if we disagreed in this transaction, it would hurt our friendship.

What do you think we should do?

— BFF in the West

BFF in the West: The outcome here is somewhat dependent on your various temperaments. Is your friend organized and unflappable? Are you and your husband able to tolerate frustration calmly? Does “Terri” have good reviews from other clients?

I think you should use your friend as your agent, with some caveats.

Because she is your friend and knows you very well, she will probably work extremely hard to show you properties and work as your advocate during the process.

If you and your husband agree to use her, you should both be extremely candid in advance. Tell her, “We’d like to use you as our agent, but purchasing a home can be a very stressful experience, and we want to make sure that all of us get through it with the best outcome. We will be very honest with you and want to make sure that the three of us can communicate well in this business mode, even if we’re frustrated or confused.”

Dear Amy: "Empty Nest" wanted to host international college students for Thanksgiving dinner.

I grew up in a college town, and my parents always did this!

Honestly, I didn't always love basically giving up my own "seat at the table" for Thanksgiving, but looking back I think it was really generous of my folks to feed and host these students who didn't have anywhere else to go that day.

— Grateful

Grateful: Sharing with others honors the spirit of that feast day.

2021 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency