The Washington Post

Ask Amy: Friendship is strained when husband’s a jerk

DEAR AMY: My friend asked me to baby sit for her 6-year-old. She is married and pregnant with her second child. She and her husband provided their phone numbers to me before they went to work — I had never sat for them before.

They have a little pool, so I was laying out in my bikini watching the boy play and her husband showed up and started talking to me. I felt like he was criticizing his wife, my friend. I became uncomfortable when he started talking about the “seven-year itch.” He said that’s when men want to cheat.

I put on my shorts and shirt. I have never been put in a situation like this. I have a boyfriend and I love him very much.

When her husband went back to work, he sent me a text not to tell his wife what he had said and ended it with, “By the way — nice bathing suit.” I didn’t respond and then he texted me “Sorry.” I still didn’t reply back.

When my friend got home from work I wanted to tell her, but she is pregnant and I didn’t know how she would react. I left my phone at their house and when I got it back I realized those messages were gone! He had erased them!

They want me to baby-sit again, but I don’t want to. Everyone is telling me not to tell her, but I really think I should. I would want to know if my husband behaved like this. -- Upset

DEAR UPSET: You must ask yourself what purpose would be served by you informing (or reminding) your friend that her husband is a jerk.

So far, that’s his biggest crime — and he copped to it when he apologized and then erased his texts.

Regardless of what you tell your friend, there is no question that you should confront him to say, “I didn’t appreciate the comments you made to me the other day. Completely inappropriate. Do not go there again.”

If you confronted him, it would help you manage some of your own discomfort. If you are too uncomfortable (or simply don’t want) to baby-sit, then you will have to say so.

DEAR AMY: I have been married to a fabulous man for more than 15 years. I love him with all my heart, but there is something that has been bothering me and I would love your take on it.

He is a perfectionist. That is fine, but what I find troublesome is when he needs to “perfect” something I have done.

He feels the need to rearrange the wood when I make a fire, change the load of clothes when I am going to do the wash, etc.

We went on vacation and rented bikes. When I would park mine, he would move it to a different, “better” spot.

While these things may seem quite trivial, he has done this throughout our marriage. It is bothering me more and more. Aren’t I “perfect” enough? Am I making too much of this? -- I’m Perfectly Fine

DEAR FINE: You should consider that your husband has a degree of anxiety that is heightened when he sees things that he thinks are out of whack.

It is not you he is correcting — it is the world.

Understanding this about him should help you to negotiate this issue.

Can he understand how his world-correcting comes off when it is pointed in your direction? Realistically, can he manage to let some things lie?

And can you grasp how crazy it makes him to see that piece of wood not quite lined up alongside the others? Can you see how moving it just a smidge will make the universe right?

DEAR AMY: “Paralyzed” said her 21-year-old daughter insisted on having her boyfriend sleep over because Paralyzed also had a boyfriend sleeping over.

This mother is setting a bad example for both her 21- and 13-year-old children by having her boyfriend sleep over. I feel you missed the point on this one. -- Connie

DEAR CONNIE: I agree that I should have been more explicit about this choice. Thank you.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
This isn't your daddy's gun club
A look inside the world of Candomblé
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
The art of tortilla-making
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How the new credit card chip makes purchases more secure

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.