Q: I am engaged to be married in about a month. I work a job that takes me out of town for a week at a time, every other week. My fiancée goes to the bar with female friends nearly every night that I'm gone, often staying out until the bar closes at 1 a.m. Yet when I return home all she wants to do is stay home and watch TV. I have explained to her that I'm not comfortable with her going out so often. Most nights when I'm working, I sit at the motel and watch TV or do paperwork. I've asked her to go out with me while I'm home and it's usually at least a debate if not an all-out fight. I have walked in and seen her playing games with other men (darts, pool, etc.). I really don't suspect her of cheating or even being interested in anyone else. But I really wonder why she feels the need to go every night. I know that her female friends are always there the same time she is. She says she just doesn't want to go home by herself at night, and that she is with friends that would tell me if she ever did anything wrong. We all know that her friends would NEVER betray her and tell me anything.
I don't think she's an alcoholic. It feels as if there is something going on there that she doesn't want me to find out. Like if we go out together I will see something, or someone will tell me something. I've even wondered if she is ashamed of me. But if that were the case, would we be getting married? I have dated cheating women in the past and my gut instinct has always helped me to find the truth. My gut now tells me something simply isn't right. Is it possible that you could maybe put my suspicions to rest or cause me to look into things? My gut is telling me something's up, but my mind questions whether it actually is or not. -- John, 45
Dr. Susan: You're in a tough bind, John. If this is a job you're going to stick with, where you're out of town for a week every other week, I worry that your gut instinct may be accurate. People who hang out in bars that much are usually lonely and seeking something they don't have at home. Maybe they don't have the internal resources to stay occupied without the stimulation of liquor and meeting new people. I don't imagine too many men or women would be thrilled to have their partners choose that way to spend so much of their free time. I don't understand why your fiancee won't go out with YOU occasionally. I wouldn't proceed with this marriage until you get this figured out. If she's someone who can't be alone, then being married to a man who is away every other week could be a formula for serious trouble for both of you.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.