My husband and I have been married for five years. I'll call him Tom. We have two small children, so if he wants to go out to a bar on the weekend, I stay home with the kids. I'm a homemaker, and I don't have any friends in the area, so I don't go out to bars. And that's fine; I never liked bars in the first place, so it's no loss to me.
The problem arises when he doesn't come home when he said he would, and he doesn't call to tell me when he'll be home. Usually, this is just mildly exasperating, but last night, it just went too far. Tom went out to a bar around 9 PM to celebrate a friend's birthday. I'll call her Amy. There was a group of four or five of them, and since Amy is recently divorced, I was feeling a little sorry for her. Tom said he'd be home by midnight. I sat up to read a book and knit until he came home.
Midnight passed, and...no husband. This has happened before, so I waited until 2 AM to call and make sure he was sober enough to drive and on his way home, which he assured me he was. An hour passed, and still no husband. I called at 3 AM, and he told me in a very sheepish voice that he was over at Amy's house, talking to her.
I asked him to come home and hung up before I could scream at him.
Another 45 minutes passed, and I was getting seriously pissed. I called again, and he was still there. This time, I did yell at him to get his ass home, and finally, he did.
He says nothing happened between them, and I do believe him, but shouldn't it have occurred to at least one of them that this was a Very Bad Idea? I'm of the opinion that it's not okay for a married man to go over to a single woman's house, without the company of others, at 2 AM. I told him that regardless of his good intentions, this is how affairs start, and he shouldn't be putting himself in a situation like that. Am I being ridiculous about this? They have been friends since high school, and with the divorce, she needed someone to talk to, but I still think he shouldn't have gone up to her house (he had to drive her home, as she was too drunk to drive.) I trust him - I don't believe that he'd go over to her house with less-than-pure intentions - but he's putting himself in a very dangerous situation, and that makes me uncomfortable.
I hate to play the role of the nagging wife. I don't want to be angry with him; I don't want to feel like a mom whose kid has stayed out past curfew. But as the woman who takes care of the children so he can go out and have fun, don't I deserve to at least know where he is and when he'll be coming home? Am I being unreasonable?
-Waiting for Godot
When I was a young teen, I haaated calling my mother to let her know where I was and when I would be home. She was like as not to overreact and arbitrarily punish me as she was to appreciate the call. I didn't see the point in inviting that, especially if I knew that I was pushing the limits and missing curfew or going to a different friend's house than I had said,so I just avoided the whole thing. When I moved in with my father and stepmother, I did the same thing until I realized that they didn't change the rules on me; they just didn't want to worry, nor did they want to have me throw their plans wonky because I hadn't given any warning. Big fat light bulb went on in my head, and I started calling just to let them know what I anticipated. Everyone involved was much happier, and emergencies that cropped up were easier to deal with because I was usually reliable.
This issue is, I think, the key here, because without it, the whole affair idea wouldn't have come up. If he had called and said, "Look, honey, Amy shouldn't be driving, and frankly, I'd like to stay around and see if she's okay for a while, because she's really taking this thing hard tonight. I'll call when we get to her house to let you know we're okay, and if I think she's okay to be alone," would you have felt those little niggles of alarm? In addition, if he had been periodically calling you, that would have been a tacit signal to the three of you of his commitment, yes? It's when a partner shies away from those signals, or when they just don't occur to him or her, that our panic button is triggered.
So the two of you need to talk about this. And I'd keep it to the notification thing, because it's much more concrete of an issue, and you won't have to explain slippery feelings that display a distrust you don't want to have. It sounds like one of the reasons you trust him so much is the culprit for him going over there: he's a good guy, and he's sensitive to the emotional needs of others in his life. If you can acknowledge that quality when you talk about this with him, you'll go a long way towards showing that it's not a knee-jerk reaction to him being near another woman.
Reassure him that you're glad he's there for his friends; it's part of what you love about him. Tell him that, while you have no bad feelings about the socializing he does without you, you need to know that 1)he's going to come home at a reasonable hour or call by a certain time if he thinks it'll be later than that; 2)if an emergency pops up, you can trust him to let you know and update you on the status; and 3)when you have to call him to make sure he's alright because he didn't do #2, you feel like you're being pushed into a parental role, and you already have enough children thankyouverymuch.
Finally, if the issue of being over at a woman's house in the middle of the night does come up, you might do better by appealing to his sense of decency and sensitivity. You said yourself you've been worried about Amy. Rather than highlighting his own ability to keep matters on the up and up, you might want to point out that a drunk and vulnerable woman might ask for the wrong sort of comfort from an old friend, and being rejected again, despite it being the right thing for him to do, could hurt and embarrass her even more, and putting either of them in that kind of situation isn't the kindest thing to do. It's not that you don't trust either of them (and believe me, you don't want to stick a wedge into this thing that puts your husband and Amy on a team against you); it's that you don't want to make this ordeal any more difficult for her. Yes, it might feel a bit underhanded, but it's better than blurting out that you feel he's capable of cheating on you and that's why you've been calling and calling and calling.