Ask Amy

Friday, January 29, 2010 at 12:45am

DEAR AMY: I recently remarried after 16 years of a first marriage, which ended because of an act of infidelity by my former wife.

I stayed in that marriage too long because of my overwhelming love for my kids.

My current wife and I have only been married a little more than a year, and while I knew she had trust and self-esteem issues, I never imagined what I would have to endure.

My wife is enormously jealous and accuses me of improprieties in our marriage, even though I have gone out of my way to show her how much I love her and that she can trust me.

I have given her all my passwords to all my e-mail accounts and access to my company computer and cell phone. I call her all the time, especially when I travel on business, to show her I have nothing to hide and love her.

Her jealously and distrust have turned to violent rage, and on several occasions she physically attacked me.

One incident required the police, which led to her arrest due to the injuries I suffered. A court order required her to attend an anger management program, but she has attacked me twice since.

Despite her attacks I never raised my hands to her and simply let her beat me, because she told me how a former boyfriend hit her and I said I would never do that.

We attended counseling, but our problems have grown worse.

I don't know what to do.

— Fearful Husband

DEAR FEARFUL: Leave this relationship immediately. You are being emotionally and physically abused, and you should leave for your own safety. If there are children in the house, get them out too.

Develop a safety plan. Find a friend to stay with, pack your documents, valuables and some clothing without your wife's knowledge, and leave the home.

Go to the police for an order of protection, and don't have any contact with your wife other than through a lawyer.

The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women has content specifically oriented toward men who are being abused. Your response to this abuse — to try to tough it out — is sadly common for men who are victims of domestic violence.

Please check the organization's Web site: dahmw.org. Call the Helpline for further assistance: 888-743-5754.


DEAR AMY: What is the proper protocol for clearing the dinner dishes when we have one or two couples at our house for dinner?

My husband tells me I am extremely rude to clear the plates, take them to the kitchen, rinse them quickly and put them directly into the dishwasher. He always remains at the table and talks.

I then have a clean workspace for dishing up dessert, and once the company is gone final cleanup is easier. I'm the type who likes to clean as I go.

His solution is to no longer invite people over because I'm so rude. I love to cook and enjoy friendly dinners.

— Tidy and Frustrated

DEAR TIDY: Even though your husband is massively overreacting to this, I agree with him that you shouldn't rinse and load the dishwasher while your guests are still at the table.

Depending on the location of your kitchen, cleaning up during a meal removes you from the action. Loading the dishwasher also triggers a sort of Pavlovian response, telling people the evening is ending.

Your husband's response is hardly polite, however. Can you two compromise? Perhaps he could clear and stack the dishes quickly — and you could stay at the table while he gets the coffee started.


DEAR AMY: More on the topic of teacher gifts.

As much as I appreciate a lovely, expensive gift or check, I am a teacher who is just as thrilled to forgo the one big gift and receive small gifts from students.

There is no exquisite scarf or generous gift certificate that can match the joy of seeing the face of a child who beams while handing you his/her chosen gift.

I would rather have a bag full of tacky trinkets from proud children who are learning the joy of giving than one perfect gift from an adult.

— Happy Teacher


DEAR TEACHER: It seems the " happy" teachers appreciate the child-centered gifts.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

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