DEAR HARRIETTE: In the past few months, I've realized that my husband always has an excuse to be on the phone. He claims it's one of his relatives or the office calling, but I feel like this is too frequent to be work and family. I trust my husband to a degree, and I just want to get to the bottom of this. Is work really so stressful? Has he been trying to get a promotion? Could there be another woman?
I want to figure out how to calmly bring this up with him, because in the past I've dominated conversations and gotten very accusatory. My friends have noticed, too; in the middle of a dinner, he got a call and rushed off to the hallway. How do I bring this up with him? I was thinking about doing this in a restaurant so we wouldn't be able to let our tempers flare. -- Wake-Up Call, Dallas
DEAR WAKE-UP CALL: Your note suggests that your issue is bigger than the phone calls. That you feel you have to bring the topic up in a public setting to help control your husband's temper is a clear sign that you feel unsafe. Do what makes you feel safe. This means that you should first evaluate what happens after you confront your husband.
What do you want? Do you feel your marriage is worth saving? If so, would you be willing to invite your husband to counseling? Do you desperately need to know the truth? If so, are you willing to hire a private investigator and wait for results? Do you want to know the truth but can't afford the professional help? Are you willing to look at his phone when he's sleeping or pay to have it hacked?
Yes, the options are intense, but they are real. You have to decide how much you believe you can and will trust your husband to tell the truth, and more, what you want in the end. If you honestly want to continue your marriage, figure out a way to talk to him about this so that you do not accuse him of behavior that could be hard to forgive. Be honest without pushing too hard. Take your time to find the truth and to get him to choose you. If he does not, then you have a clear next step.