Ask Amy July 11: Wife's snooping creates justification

2014-07-11T00:00:00Z Ask Amy July 11: Wife's snooping creates justificationBy Amy Dickinson Tribune Content Agency Arizona Daily Star

DEAR AMY: I have never had reason to be concerned about my husband’s fidelity, but a single event has got me worried, and I need your advice.

Last week I sat next to him, grabbed his cellphone and punched in the password (I know the password because I have seen him enter it and it’s quite simple). He looked over, saw what I was doing, and literally batted the phone out of my hand. He then proceeded to admonish me for “snooping.”

When I questioned his reaction, he was adamant that he was merely protecting his privacy and that he was not hiding anything. I can’t help but feel suspicious because of this uncharacteristic behavior. Am I just being a worrywart? — Worried Wife

DEAR WORRIED: Based on the evidence you present to justify your behavior (none), I think your husband has more reason to question your fidelity (i.e., trustworthiness) than you have to question his.

After all, if you witnessed him grabbing your cellphone and punching in the security code, wouldn’t you question his motives and actions? Wouldn’t you feel he was behaving in an untrustworthy manner?

My point is that you have created the justification for snooping (your husband’s “uncharacteristic” reaction) — by snooping.

Going through someone else’s cellphone is like opening someone else’s mail. Whether it is junk mail, a bill or a letter from Mom — if the envelope has someone else’s name on it, you shouldn’t open it.

Even people who have nothing to hide have a right to privacy.

So — what is your real justification for doing this? You’re going to have to come clean with your husband and simply ask him to reveal to you what you want to know. You have every right to expect him to be transparent, but you’re going to have to deal with this like grown-ups.

DEAR AMY: I’ve been married for several years. I am very Type A, but I try to keep my aggression under wraps. My husband is also Type A and has no problem speaking his mind.

I prefer to avoid conflict, and it seems he is always looking for a good fight. He has his opinions and viewpoints, as we all do. However, if someone doesn’t see his point of view, he flies off the handle. I try to remind him that the world would be an extremely boring place if everyone thought exactly the same way.

I am not confrontational, and I would prefer to not argue with him. This is obviously a no-win situation.

What should I do? — Tired

DEAR TIRED: In a healthy and functioning relationship, there should not be winners and losers. The way you describe this, the dynamic between you is a trap for both of you. He wants to be engaged, believed and persuasive. You see spirited arguments as “fighting” — and you might be right.

You can change this dynamic, but you’ll need mutual commitment and (preferably) professional help to do so. A therapist can mediate and also teach you two different ways to behave. Aggression and avoidance are not a healthy combination

DEAR AMY: “Mike” was a dad worrying himself into his daughter’s trap, when she wouldn’t move out of the home.

I went through a similar situation with my daughter. 

 I had to go through the eviction process because my home was her established residence.

She stalled until the last day and finally moved out. — Wes

Contact Amy Dickinson by email: askamy@tribune.com

Follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson’s memoir, “The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town That Raised Them” (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.

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