Dear Harry and Louise:
My husband took a golfing trip with his buddies last week. It’s an annual trip they have been taking for a few years, balanced by a trip I take with my girlfriends for a week or so. All good, so far.
My husband doesn’t do much social media—no Facebook, no Twitter. I am not a creature of the Web, yet I do have a Facebook page. The night before my husband returned, one of my friends e-mailed me and said I should check out her husband’s Facebook page. She said there were some “interesting” pictures from the golf trip. Sure enough, his Facebook had dozens of pictures from the trip. Many were of the guys laughing in golf carts and shrugging in sand traps. But there were more than a few of the boys carousing in bars. What was “interesting” to my friend—and to me, unfortunately—is that my husband seemed to have one woman by his side in every picture. She was cute and perky, a bit of a ginger—in other words, just his type. She looked just like his ex-wife. In all the pictures, the bars were different, the crowd changed, but this woman was always by my husband’s side.
What do I do? I’m scared of talking to him about it but too anxious to keep it to myself. We are at a wonderful point in our marriage, or so I thought. We have been together for five years and have started to talk about having a baby.
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I'm not going to rail against your husband as you may expect. Let's give the benefit of the doubt at every turn. Your husband and his goofy friends golf and laugh and drink in bars, and enjoy taking pictures. It could be that your husband and the girl tend to be the quieter members of the group, so they naturally gravitated toward each other.
Of course, you must address this. Don't go at your husband with guns blazing--which doesn't seem like your style, anyway. Create a safe venue for him to express himself fully. Ask him to explain the photographs, and hear him out. Give him a chance to tell you everything, which means trying to interrupt him as little as possible. If he seems a bit shaky, make it clear that you really don't want to monitor every action (you may a have a few innocuous moments with your girlfriends that you're pleased to keep to yourself). If you think he's full of *&$%, then tell him that, too. When he's finished telling you as much as he's willing to share, then state clearly what your expectations are during your time apart. You have established this sweet routine of time with friends. While you have no interest in checking in with each other at every minute of every day, you also want to clarify that there is no hall pass to act like a complete asshole when you are out of each other's line of sight.
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Ah, another chapter in the pitfalls of posting private photos on a public social media site.
I can see why you might find the photos disturbing, but frankly, I don't see anything even remotely incriminating in what you described. The pictures that depict your husband with one particular female might be simple happenstance. Maybe she just happened to be around your guy when the photo snapped. In none of the photos did you mention they were touching or gazing at each other, let alone smooching.
Nevertheless, you can't just eat your fear. It will upset your tummy and your marriage. You have to ask your husband about the photos and the female friend. You must, must, must accomplish this without accusing him of anything. Can you pull this off?
Chances are she was in the mix, they might have become friends over beers, and they went their separate ways. If that's not the case, you will have to work through a world of pain. But you're not there yet.
It's not always easy, but in a strong marriage, you're able to trust that your partner will be able to establish friendships and have conversations with attractive people without falling in love and damaging the marriage. My hope is that you talk over the photos, laugh about Facebook, reestablish your trust, and grow together as a family.
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I agree with Harry about the pitfalls of posting pictures. The lack of judgment here may be in posting pictures of private, harmless fun. Keep those to yourself. Remember at the end of The Hangover, they agreed to look at the pictures one last time and then delete them. Very prudent fellas they were.
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Memo to self: NEVER volunteer for a goofy, grinning, potentially gruesome iPhone photo. Expect male friends to act like men, with discretion. Ditch dumb friends who post photos willy-nilly.