DEAR ABBY: I am in a committed relationship with a wonderful man. We are not married, but we call each other husband and wife and have two beautiful children together. Our relationship is great.
My husband had a different childhood than mine. He didn’t have many friends of the opposite sex. I, on the other hand, had a lot of guy friends growing up. I cherish many of these platonic relationships. There is a lot of history with them (some more than 20 years), and I enjoy their company greatly. We don’t have any romantic histories.
I don’t hang out with them often because I know my husband would be upset if I were to see another man one-on-one, even just as friends. I understand his point of view. I know I might be jealous if he were to hang out one-on-one with another woman, and I would wonder. I guess we both have trust issues.
There are some hobbies I would like to engage in, and a few of these guy friends have expressed interest in joining me on occasion. One of those activities is metal detecting. I have the two kids in tow most times and would need help digging. Even without the kids, I don’t think it would be as much fun doing this by myself. My husband would join me if he weren’t so tired from his 12-hour workday and getting up at 4 a.m.
I am going stir-crazy with the kids, and I need an outlet. This is something that excites me, as it will get me outdoors, and is steeped in local history. These men are some of my best friends and we would never fool around, but I’m afraid my husband won’t understand. Is there any hope? — TREASURE-BLOCKED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR TREASURE-BLOCKED: If this is going to happen, you and your husband first need to resolve your trust and insecurity issues. There’s hope if you discuss this thoroughly with him and he trusts you enough that it won’t excite his insecurities. (The same would be true if the situation were reversed.)
He needs to know that when you do this, he is always invited. Have you asked any of your women friends if they might find your hobby to be of interest? It is possible one or more of them would welcome the break, too.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a single, retired woman on a fixed budget. I love to cook and entertain. I would do it more often if several of my friends didn’t routinely consume four to six bottles of wine collectively at dinner (at least one bottle per person, plus other drinks).
I can’t afford to spend $100 or more on alcohol, but I’m embarrassed to ask them to bring their own beverages, as no one else in the group does it. Any suggestions for how to handle this without offending them or breaking my budget? — GRATEFUL FOR ADVICE
DEAR GRATEFUL: You are not obligated to go broke paying for your friends’ overindulgence. Because you are entertaining in your own home, tell them what you have on hand, what you plan to serve and, if they need more, they should bring it with them.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.