DEAR ABBY: I am a 58-year-old woman who would like your take on a problem I have with several married female friends and my married sister. During the many years I have been close to these couples, the women seem unable to have one-on-one conversations, outings or a lunch date with me without including their husbands.
Several times after making a lunch date, one friend, unbeknownst to me, has called her husband and invited him as well. Another friend's husband never seems to allow her to talk to me alone, and will even be on speaker or another phone listening -- again, unbeknownst to me until he suddenly says something.
My sister will not read her emails from me, but instead has her husband read them aloud to her while she's doing something else and then dictates a few words to reply to me with. Consequently, I stopped emailing her and told her why.
There is nothing I would say to these ladies that I wouldn't want their husbands to hear, but can you tell me why certain women feel a need to include their spouses in their female relationships in this manner? At the very least, I feel it is extremely rude. -- FRUSTRATED WITH MY BFFs
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Your friends may assume that you like their husbands' company as much as they do. They may feel that because they tell their spouses "everything," their menfolk might as well hear what you have to say directly from you. Or their husbands may be retired or semi-retired and have no social lives of their own. Of course, the way to get a direct answer to your question would be to ask them why they do this, and because you feel it is rude, you should tell them.
As to your sister, she may be too busy with household chores to read your emails and reply to them, which is why she has her husband read them to her, or you may have sent more than she can handle. Not sending her any more emails is not the solution; telling her how you feel might be.Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Love & Dating | Friends & Neighbors | Sex & Gender
DEAR ABBY: Last year a neighbor confided to me that she had been sexually assaulted. In an effort to both show and invite compassion, I told her I empathized with her because I had been assaulted on multiple occasions as a child and teen decades ago.
I have now learned that this woman has told other neighbors that I "had sex with a lot of men," but she failed to put it in the context that I was a child victim of multiple predators.
How should I respond to this? Should I ignore the situation or explain the truth to the neighbors? I don't know whether or not to confront the woman who divulged the information. I am shocked that she'd do such a thing.
I have no shame or guilt issues over what happened to me because I worked through that long ago. But I'm at a loss about what, if anything, I should do. I have already learned the painful lesson that she wasn't worthy of my trust and has serious issues of her own.
What are your thoughts on this matter? -- RE-VICTIMIZED
DEAR RE-VICTIMIZED: You have every right to be angry with the blabbermouth. Because the word is out, set the record straight with the neighbors who were kind enough to tell you your confidence wasn't respected. And in the future, I wouldn't blame you if you avoided the woman who started the rumors whenever possible, and let her know why.Read more in: Abuse | Mental Health | Health & Safety | Friends & Neighbors | Sex & Gender | Teens
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)