Dear Amy: I have been married for 25 years. I recently earned my degree in cybersecurity/computer forensics with highest honors.
Recently, we hosted a social event. The topic shifted to problems with our internet provider. My husband was attempting to say we could use another service. I explained to him that we only have one provider in our area, and as usual, he argued with me openly, disregarding what I said.
A male guest restated my point, and my husband took his word for it immediately. I asked why he had a hard time believing me on the matter, and his response was that a cybersecurity degree had “nothing to do with the internet.” I asked him where he thought cybersecurity took precedence, and the male guest laughed. I excused myself from the conversation.
My husband shows no respect for my opinion. I have often told him how his lack of respect hurts me, but to no avail. He simply does not trust what I tell him to be credible.
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I realize this lack of validation will not change and in the future I will avoid these topics and pay attention to other people. Is there another way to handle such incidences?
And is this open questioning of educated women by their spouses common?
Dear Disappointed: You didn’t get “mansplained” (where a man explains a woman’s own expertise to her), but “spousehacked.” This is the unfortunately too common, non-gender specific, practice of basically treating a spouse like a piece of cardboard in public.
You assume that your husband doesn’t trust your credibility, but my take on it is that he does trust your credibility, and is threatened by it.
There is a more superficial issue here: Your husband’s rudeness toward you.
In this case, you responded with a sarcastic putdown, but he needs to realize that every time he assails you publicly, his own reputation takes a hit, and this dynamic between you makes others uncomfortable.
It would be easy to change this, but that would depend on your husband being a good champion, instead of a chump. A marriage counselor could help you two to sort this out, but until then I agree that you should avoid his rudeness publicly through avoiding the topic, denying him the opportunity to parade his lack of regard for you.
Dear Amy: My wife and I support her 79-year-old father financially.
We pay for all of his expenses, and I’ve also given him a credit card for “emergency situations.” He lives by himself in a nearby city, and we see him often.
Several months ago, I started noticing charges on the credit card bill for pornographic websites, hookup sites and sites for adult products. The charges totaled several hundred dollars.
After investigating, the credit card company said that these charges were indeed legitimate, and were actually made by my father-in-law.
My wife and I confronted him about this. He admitted to it, seemed embarrassed, and we agreed to forget the incident.
My wife now wants to urge her father to get psychiatric help for sex addiction. My thought is that he’s a single, lonely old man and to not make a big deal out of this. She won’t let it go, and it’s now a hot issue for us.
How do I get her to move on?
Dear Husband: I agree with you that your father-in-law should not be urged or forced toward therapy because of his interest in sex and pornography. But I also think you and your wife should pull in a little closer in order to make sure he is OK, not necessarily because of his porn use, but because he didn’t seem aware of the fact that you would see these charges reflected on the credit card statement.
This reflects either a very basic lack of understanding, or confusion. He might do better in another kind of housing that is more communal, where he would be free to pursue consensual relationships.
Dear Amy: Your advice to “Lucky Sibling,” who wanted to give money to siblings, was slightly off when you stated that the $14,000 limit per recipient was tax exempt.
One can give as much as desired above this limit but will need to file a gift tax return merely to report gifts exceeding the $14,000/recipient threshold. Only when the donor has exceeded lifetime gifts of $5,450,000 (2016 limit) will a gift tax be due.
Dear Professional: I’ve further learned that the tax burden is (eventually) on the donor, not the recipient. Thank you!
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.