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by Abigail Van Buren

Criticism From Husband Takes Fun out of Party-Going

DEAR ABBY: My husband is a successful man. He is charming in public, but at heart he's a very private person. I was successful in my field, and I'm more outgoing.

He is proud to show me off at parties because people find me interesting and witty, but without fail, at the end of the night he will tell me that somewhere during the evening I "crossed the line." Perhaps I spent too much time talking with another man, or said something he found inappropriate. If I look the wrong way, he accuses me of flirting with someone. Invariably I get a lecture on the way home or the next morning.

I told him this morning that I hate to go out with other people now because of it. He took great offense at that and said, "You are not the victim here. You are the perpetrator."

Sometimes I do say things that come out wrong, but I don't mean them. It would kill me to know that I hurt someone with my words. I am not interested in any other man. I love my husband. What can I do? -- LIFE OF THE PARTY IN VIRGINIA

DEAR LIFE: Not knowing either of you, I cannot determine if your husband is extremely controlling, jealous and insecure, or whether you are doing something out of line. You and your husband could benefit from discussing this with a licensed marriage and family therapist. If he refuses to go -- and he may -- you should go without him.

If your behavior at these gatherings was really unacceptable or an embarrassment, he would not want to "show you off at parties." You shouldn't have to worry that you'll be lectured the next day for just being yourself. Something is definitely wrong here, and I don't think it's with you.

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