When I was a kid in the 1970s, every afternoon I would always read three things in Ann Arbor News: the baseball box scores, the letters to the editor, and Dear Abby. I still read box scores, and occasionally I have a hankering for a good old fashioned advice column, which is how I encountered this:
Q. Three’s a crowd: My husband and I have been together for about seven years. In that time we (thankfully!) have never had any big arguments or disagreements. We’re both pretty independent people who enjoy living their own lives while still being able to come home to a loving home. Neither of us has ever really had any issues with each other’s friends, and over time our friend groups have seemingly meshed into a shared conglomerate. The issue is, an old friend of my husband’s has reentered the picture and she is really throwing a wrench in things. The two reconnected while I was backpacking abroad alone, as my husband dislikes traveling. Since then, the two have seen each other practically every day and are in constant contact—even having phone conversations all hours of the night! While I was abroad, I booked a room in an area that made me nervous and asked my husband to be available for around an hour as I wanted to have him on the phone with me while I walked the mile to catch my bus. During that time, he was with this other woman and ignored all of my calls and texts. While there wasn’t much he could do from an ocean away, it was a comfort thing for me and he was totally unapologetic. Since coming home, it has been worse, with him blowing me off to spend time with her.
He is also constantly carrying on text conversations with her while we are sharing alone time or hanging out with mutual friends, distancing himself from what is happening outside of his screen. He has fallen asleep at her place a few times because the two of them smoke in her apartment and he passes out afterward and leaves me hanging without any word for hours where he is or if he is coming home. We have other friends’ places that he’s spent the night at before and it isn’t an issue, but with how this woman has been prioritized over me, this behavior has become more upsetting. My husband has even introduced her to a group of friends I haven’t met before because they come from one of his hobbies that he pursues on his own; for me, he previously used the excuse that the situations in which he hangs out with those friends are “guy time.” We rarely do things together anymore, as he opts to spend time with her and her friends, occasions when I am decidedly not invited. My husband and I frequently use each other’s phones interchangeably, as they are hooked up to all the electronics in our home, but when I grabbed his off the counter the other day to change a song that was casting, I found he put a passlock on it. This is just the tip of the iceberg with this woman, and I can go on about the ways the pair acts more like a couple and less like close friends but I’ll spare everyone the novel.
Prudie, I’m very hurt and I have tried to set boundaries with my husband in regard to this woman, but he shrugs me off as overreacting or being jealous. I don’t think I’m jealous of this woman but more resentful that I, his wife, am now a second thought rather than a priority. Because all of our friends are OUR friends, I feel like I have no one to talk to who will be objective or not look at my husband differently after I tell them about this. My husband says that they are just friends and connect really well and that nothing has ever happened nor will ever happen between them, but I can’t help but feel like I should stop this now before things get even worse. None of his other friendships with women have ever bothered me like this. And because neither of us has ever set boundaries before, I feel like I have made my bed and have to lie in it until one of the pair actually crosses a line into nonmonogamous territory. How do I make him see I feel less and less like a priority with each passing day? Or am I really just overreacting and need to get over this new woman in my husband’s life?
This tale reminded me of Donald Trump, because everything reminds me of Donald Trump now, but also specifically because it’s actually a nice encapsulation of the Russia scandal (real world version) or hoax (Republican version — for example, see the observations of Very Serious Conservative Intellectual Randy Barnett).
Obviously, the man in this story is having an affair, because . . . he’s OPENLY HAVING AN AFFAIR. There’s no “mystery” here: it’s all right out in the open, except the actual sex, which there’s a small possibility may not be happening (yet.) But that’s basically an irrelevant detail, because even in the unlikely event that he’s not having sex with the Other Woman, this is still an affair by any reasonable definition. He’s cheating on his wife, flagrantly, openly, shamelessly, and indisputably.
But his wife doesn’t know this, because she doesn’t want to know it, so she doesn’t.
That’s a good analogy for the whole “controversy” over whether Donald Trump “colluded” with the Russian government, aka Vladimir Putin, to win the 2016 presidential election.
Russia all but openly made massive investments to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign, because the Putin government preferred that the president of the United States be Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump quite openly asked the Russian government to do this.
The weird obsession with whether the precise details of this political affair included “collusion” (an undefined term whose meaning could always be shifted to exclude the precise details of the actual affair) was and is just a way of avoiding this extremely disturbing reality, as well as avoiding the further reality that this particular affair is very much ongoing.
We need a divorce.