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Ask Amy: Wife’s drunken ‘truth bomb’ leads to crisis
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Ask Amy

Ask Amy: Wife’s drunken ‘truth bomb’ leads to crisis

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Dear Amy: My wife had a moment of truth the other night.

We have been together for about 15 years. We have a healthy relationship and a nice life.

She was just out of high school when we met; she is now in her mid-30s.

She also has recently gone on a lifestyle/weight loss journey and is feeling confident. This is great!

She has joked and made references to a “work boyfriend,” and to men hitting on her.

Sometimes I go to bed early and she stays up drinking and talking to her friends. If she has too much to drink, she will sometimes wake me up with a “truth bomb,” usually some silly comment that she will have forgotten the next day.

During her latest midnight revelation, she stated that she wanted a “hall pass” from our marriage.

This was coming from her evil drunk alter ego. She immediately said she’d ruined everything, made a variety of excuses, and apologized.

The next day, sure enough, I was the only one who remembered what she said.

I really want to forget it, but if she can essentially ask me permission to stray from the marriage, what am I supposed to do with that?

I understand fantasy, and I’m not saying I’ve never looked at another woman, but it ends there. I wouldn’t dream of asking for a hall pass.

She also at times goes away to her friend’s house for weekends without me, due to my work schedule.

Ever since those words, now all I think is that she’s going to do something.

It feels like something sacred has been shattered.

I’ve been faking being OK around my wife since it happened. I’d like your advice on what to do next. — R, in New Jersey

Dear R: My own instinct is that your wife doesn’t actually have hangover amnesia, but she is hiding her own truth behind drunken late-night truth bombs that she can then conveniently “forget” in the morning.

All of the hallmarks of a “midlife crisis” are evident here: The weight loss and fitness journey, comments about attention from other men, hints about her “work boyfriend,” and her choice to drink to excess with her friends.

(If she suddenly runs out and buys a Miata, you’ll know she is in deep.)

Unfortunately, flirtations and/or affairs often accompany this transitory period, and I hope you will fight hard to try to save your marriage, rather than what you’re currently doing, which is to fake it and hope to make it.

You have the right and the responsibility to attend to your own sadness over this distancing, and you must communicate about her behavior and how it affects you.

The ideal place to do this is in the office of a marriage counselor. Communicating truthfully can be extremely painful, and it might not save your marriage, but it will liberate you from this joyless and anxious relationship limbo.

Dear Amy: I have done a pretty poor job of attending to my friendships during the pandemic. I started out strong, but gradually, as the isolation ground on and on, my contact with and responses to friends really suffered.

Now that we seem to be coming out of this lengthy period, I’m looking for ways to try to pick up the pieces.

Do you have any creative suggestions? — Tired

Dear Tired: When in doubt, send a postcard.

In my opinion, the lowly postcard, sent through the mail with a stamp is a delightful secret weapon. I have an extensive collection of those sent to me over the years and do my best to reciprocate and send out my own.

Throw yourself on the mercy of your friends, with a brief and sincere message along these lines: “Hello, dear friend. Remember me? I used to be your lively and responsive pal. Now I’m hoping you will forgive my lack of attention and allow me back into your good graces…”

Dear Amy: I was so disappointed with your response to “Hostess With the Leastess.”

This woman said she had hosted a thousand dinner parties over the years, and now — in her 70s — she was over it, but when she said so, her husband would “throw a fit.”

Why on earth would you suggest that she hire a caterer? It is her husband who wants these parties! — Upset

Dear Upset: I suggested that this woman should stop hosting. I wrote: “If your husband throws a fit, ride it out.”

If he wants to entertain, he — not she — should do it.

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@amydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@amydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.

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