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Ask Amy: Partner wants to slumber with pals in the city

DEAR AMY: My partner (whom I have been living with for two years) is a loving, wonderful man. We live in the country, about an hour outside of our home city.

A few weeks ago, he asked if I would mind if he spent the night at a friend’s place in the city after a night of board games and drinks. I do not want to be a “controlling wife,” so I reluctantly told him it wasn’t a big issue.

Well, this week we opened that conversation again, and it is a big issue to me.

I was raised with traditional values, and my partner and I attend church Sunday mornings. Not only does this sleepover seem unusual for a grown man, but he would be missing church.

I applaud him for making the responsible decision not to drive after drinking, but living out in the country was our choice. A part of that choice means sometimes accepting that an all-nighter with the pals in the big city may not be appropriate anymore.

The men in my family never did things like this, and I am confused, because I wouldn’t do it either. -- Confused in the Country

DEAR CONFUSED: There is no one way to have a happy partnership. Some couples find balance in taking occasional fishing trips or theater weekends away from each other.

But I will say this: Anecdotally speaking, the happiest, strongest couples I’ve studied seem to want to sleep with their partners by their side, and would stay sober and drive through a blizzard to get home after a night playing “board games”(?) with friends. They don’t seem to need escape to have slumber parties with other adults.

Your job is not to control your partner. Reject the idea that you are “letting” him do something you don’t want him to do. Say to him, “Honey, I’m not in charge of you. I find this plan a little strange and baffling. But you should do what you want to do.” (You might also choose to spend a night in the city with friends.)

I notice that despite your “traditional” upbringing, you are not married to your partner. This could be a crossroads for both of you. If you are truly miserable with the prospect and the reality of this, then, everything else aside, you might not be with the right person.

DEAR AMY: I have been dating “Joe” for two years. We have had our ups and downs, and I moved out once, but now we are trying to make things work.

I cannot stand his mother or the way he was raised. The entire family doesn’t talk to me. They don’t care about what’s going on in my life.

Joe is irresponsible, rude and selfish. Our fights mainly consist of his lack of ability to help care for the house we rent. I try really hard to keep our place nice, wash and fold his clothes, and make his lunch. I was raised to work hard, to be a respectful, caring individual and to expect respect when it’s deserved.

I work 10 times more than he does and make half the money, and still come home to take care of a 23-year-old ungrateful and obnoxious jerk.

I know people come from different backgrounds and try to respect this. But I also do not want to be a doormat for the rest of my life. Should I start packing? -- Frustrated in New York

DEAR FRUSTRATED: In the time it took you to write this letter, you could have already packed your bags.

DEAR AMY: I recently read a reply to the inquiry from “Mike,” whose daughter is annoying him and he wants her to move out. The reply suggested that the daughter was depressed and needed support instead of confrontation. You said that the “partying and staying out all night doesn’t sound depressed to me.”

Alcohol is a depressant — you might know this — and if she’s doing a lot of that, she may be slipping into depression. -- Reader From the ’Burbs

DEAR READER: You’re right.

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2014 by the Chicago Tribune



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