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Dear Mary: My husband's friend is raising doubts about my nights away

My husband travels a lot on business. It has been a part of our life since I first knew him

He is earning enough that I don't have to work now, and I love watching our kids growing up and being a part of their life. They are now in their teens. As they became more independent, I joined a golf club as I had played a lot when I was young, and I love being with all the other women and having another life apart from my family.

Sometimes we go on an overnight golf outing which is great fun. The trouble is that someone who is supposed to be a "friend" took my husband aside the last time he was home and told him that he should insist that I stay at home more and that he should check up on my movements.

This is a guy that I have always found slightly creepy (and who tried to come on to me one night when he was a bit drunk) but he and my husband have been friends since they were in primary school.

I think that this guy is jealous of the success my husband has had and also jealous of how well our marriage has been -- all the more as his own marriage broke up some time ago.

My husband took me out to dinner to tell me this and to ask if there was anything going on that he should be worried about. I was so shocked and appalled that I burst into tears immediately and we had to leave the restaurant. I have never been unfaithful to him -- despite the flirting I do with some men from time to time. In all the times he has been away I have never accused him of being unfaithful although I know that it would be very easy for him as he would never be caught. I thought it would be the same for him.

He has insisted ever since that he never believed that there was anything wrong but that he had to mention it since he was afraid it was being talked about around our fairly small town. He went away on business again yesterday and will be gone for three weeks. I am still gutted and stunned that he would believe what his friend suggested. Any advice you can give would be so welcome.

Mary replies:

SOMETIMES men just don't understand what innocent fun a group of women can have when they are away from home, and this man is obviously one of them. Here is a very good relationship that was in danger of being hurt by the apparent jealousy of your husband's friend. Trust is a very important factor in any relationship, and the trust that your husband had in you was jeopardised by innuendo.

I'm glad that your husband didn't allow it to fester but tackled you about it, even though this caused you pain. Did you explain to him that this guy had come onto you? If not, then you should do when your husband gets back. I would normally not advocate telling tales, but this guy lost all chance of fair play when he tried to get your husband to believe something that was not true and put your marriage at risk. If you did tell your husband, then he already knows that his friend has put their own friendship in jeopardy. You should also contact the guy and tell him that you don't think much of his interference and tell him that as he knows from firsthand experience you take your marriage vows very seriously. That should shut him up!

At a deeper level, you have reacted very strongly to your husband listening to his friend's advice. There have probably been no trust issues between you up until now, despite his frequent absences and you did indeed get a shock. But it was far better that your husband tackle it as he did, rather than have him worrying about it alone and thinking up all sorts of possible scenarios involving you and your golf buddies. If he had continued to brood about it, then it could have grown into quite a big problem by the time he would have confronted you. So the air has been cleared and you are free once more to come and go as you please.

As your children will no doubt be leaving home in a couple of years, it is vitally important that you have your own interests, particularly if your husband plans to continue travelling so much. I'm sure he appreciates this every bit as much as you do. After you have had the discussion with him when he comes home regarding his friend trying to score with you, it would be advisable to drop the entire subject, otherwise it will become an irritant to both of you and the friend will have succeeded in coming between you which is presumably what he wanted in the first place.

Don't let him win.

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