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by Abigail Van Buren

Long-Married Couple Clashes Over Wife's Right to Privacy

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 25 years. I was 19 and he was 28. Among a number of things we disagree about, there's the notion that he feels I should have zero privacy. If he finds out I locked the bathroom door or the bedroom door for five minutes to get something private done, like shave or use the potty, he freaks out and yells at me. He insists that he's the husband and I shouldn't feel the need to lock him out.

This morning I locked the bedroom door for less than 10 minutes to pack my bag for a flight. I was running late and wanted to eliminate the distraction of him going in and out of the room so I could finish quickly. He flipped out, calling me rude for making him feel like he is a pervert by locking the door. In the nicest way possible I had asked him when he came to the door if he would please let me have the room until I was done packing.

Don't I have the right to lock the door if I feel I need privacy, or is he right that there's no need for privacy from a husband? I hardly get five or 10 minutes a month of it. We have a large home with four other bathrooms. It isn't a lack-of-space thing. Please help me resolve this. -- IT'S PERSONAL, IN NEW YORK

DEAR IT'S PERSONAL: Everyone needs privacy at one time or another. Because someone is married does not mean she (or he) shouldn't have the right to some -- especially when using the bathroom. Your husband is either extremely controlling or doesn't trust you to be alone, and that's not healthy. What's causing his behavior I can't guess, but a licensed mental health professional may be able to help you figure it out. If he won't agree to go, go without him.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Mental Health