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.