Ask Amy

Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 11:00pm

DEAR AMY: My husband, "James," and I have been married for two months but have known each other going on two years. We have three children between us.

Recently, while having an honest conversation, we described some of our past relationships.

My husband knew one of the people from my past, and since having this discussion he has done nothing but mock me.

I do not regret my past relationships, but it's becoming quite an issue with James and his catty comments.

I've repeatedly told him to leave it alone, drop it and give it up, but nothing seems to get through to him.

I've tried talking to him seriously about this.

I've asked him why he feels the need to crack jokes, but he just starts making fun to avoid talking about it.

I don't know what to do anymore.

Please Amy, help me out!

— No Regrets

DEAR NO: Unfortunately, your husband's default position seems to be to mock you when he's uncomfortable. This doesn't bode well when it comes to issues you'll be confronting in the future — and there will be plenty of issues to confront.

You can assume that this relationship in your past makes your husband feel insecure. His reaction is completely inappropriate. Mocking, belittling and sarcasm are what bullies do.

The next time this happens, you could try to change the dynamic by saying, "I can tell this makes you feel insecure for some reason. If you want to talk about it, let's talk. Otherwise, I want to reassure you that I choose to be with you. Your reaction is making me feel bad — not about this past relationship, but about you."

After that, stop responding. If you let the air out of the balloon, he should stop.

You should be concerned about this behavior when it comes to dealing with your children (if they're young and at home). If he mocks them when he's uncomfortable, then they'll be saddled with the same low self-esteem he seems to have.

If this becomes a chronic problem, you should urge him to get professional help.


DEAR AMY: I just received an invitation to a friend's wedding. Accompanying the invitation was an e-mail from the bride. She said she would love for me to come but, because of space limitations, she couldn't accommodate every invited guest bringing their own guest to the event. She said she hopes I understand.

Frankly, I'm happily single right now and wouldn't have brought a guest anyway, but if I had a guest I imagine I would be a little miffed.

What are your thoughts? Was this a breach of etiquette?

— Wondering Guest

DEAR WONDERING: Couples are not obligated to include guests of guests with every invitation they send.

Normally, wedding guests are invited to bring their own guests when they are in a domestic partnership or long-standing relationship with the person they'd like to bring.

Generous brides and grooms will sometimes issue "and guest" invitations to every non-attached person they invite, but this can get extremely expensive — and the wedding couple ends up having lots of guests at their wedding whom they don't know. Your friend didn't commit a breach.


DEAR AMY: While I agree that the store customer who confronted a mother of two young children about her baby's crying was indeed rude, I find it disturbing that this mother finds it necessary to subscribe to so many venues of entertainment. (She said they regularly went to the science center, museums and the aquarium.)

Today's children seem to be growing up to expect that they be entertained.

If visits to museums, aquariums and the like were kept to a minimum in favor of unstructured play at home with an opportunity for healthy exercise, the compliance for good behavior when required would vastly improve.

Possibly the children might even look forward to a trip to the store.

— Frustrated Grandparent

DEAR FRUSTRATED:
It's hard to blame visits to museums for in-store meltdowns, but I take your basic point.

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