Dear Annie: I own a bar with my best friend. We work great together. I’ve been married for five years, and yesterday, my business partner showed me messages from my husband. He gave her his phone number and said if she ever wants to talk, she should call. He is in no way associated with our bar. They are friends through me. I am very upset he did this. I confronted him, and he said he was just being nice. However, I’m still mad and hurt he did this. Should I just overlook this as his being friendly, or do I have a reason to be upset? — Aggravated
Dear Aggravated: These sorts of situations can function as Rorschach tests for relationships: What you see can reveal a lot about your headspace. There’s nothing inherently wrong with your husband reaching out to your business partner, so it’s worth asking yourself why your first instinct was to suspect something inappropriate. Are there past trust issues that you haven’t resolved? (Remember that “trust” doesn’t just mean trusting each other not to cheat but also trusting that you can be vulnerable.)
Or perhaps your husband knew that your friend would show you the messages, and he was trying to get your goat. Or maybe he was flirting with her, as you suspected.
Whatever the case, the only way you’ll find the real answer — and a real solution — is through open and honest conversation with your husband. Marriage counseling can create the space for that to happen, and it can also help you identify the path forward. Give it a try.