DEAR ABBY: I am in a committed 10-year marriage with "Cathy," a woman I love dearly. My problem is, Cathy doesn't trust me. Her ex-husband cheated on her, her father cheated on her mother, and I feel like I'm paying for their sins.
I play in a band that has "gigs" in bars once a month. I also like to go for a beer with the fellas after work a couple of times a month. (I work days in a manufacturing plant.) Whenever I play with the band and Cathy is present, I constantly have to watch that I don't talk to any women in her presence.
The place I work has 1,200 employees. Many of them come to see our band to show their support. (The majority of our employees are female.) Cathy considers it disrespectful to her that they come to hear us, and she acts as if she's in constant fear that I might stray, despite my reassurances that I'm totally committed to her.
What can I do? I feel like I'm beating a dead horse. -- DESPERATE TO UNDERSTAND IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DESPERATE: There is nothing you can do because the problem isn't yours; it's your wife's. Until you came into her life, her two most significant male relationships were with men who were unfaithful. The fact that the male role model -- her father -- was a cheater set up her expectations for how "all" men behave.
If you haven't already done so, I urge you to have a serious talk with your wife about how her suspicions make you feel. It is unrealistic to expect you to spend the rest of your life wearing blinders and talking only to men. If she's smart, she'll talk to a counselor about this, because suspicion and accusations that an innocent spouse is cheating can destroy a marriage as surely as infidelity can.