Dear Annie: When is it OK to spy on your wife's deleted text messages with a "guy friend"? My wife has been guarding her phone since I found out she had been texting a guy she first claimed was a childhood friend. The story changed to, "It was a boyfriend." And although I am somewhat ashamed that I have looked at her phone on occasion -- usually after seeing she's gotten a text from the guy -- she immediately deletes the texts.
Is it wrong to wonder what their conversations entail? I surprised her once when she was admittedly texting him, and she put the phone down so fast it startled me and concerned me, as well. That led to a couple of conversations that ended with her telling me she had broken it off. I found out recently that they have been in contact. I wonder constantly about what she is hiding. -- Wondering Spouse
Dear Wondering Spouse: It is safe to say that you are already spying on your wife. I think you realize that you are sneaking up on her and you are feeling ashamed about your behavior. Stop wondering about whether she has a boyfriend or a relationship with this other man, and start wondering about why there is such a lack of trust and disconnect between you and your wife. The next step would be to stop all your snooping and suspicions, apologize to your wife and suggest that the two of you seek marriage counseling. If she is in love with another man, you would most likely find out in counseling, and if she isn't, then you would feel better about trusting her.
Dear Annie: My cousin, whom I absolutely love like a brother, and his wife have been living with us for a month while they relocate and prepare to move into the house they just bought. Having them live with us has been fun and a pleasure, except for one thing. My cousin eats with his mouth open. They dine with us every evening, and it drives my husband and me crazy listening to him chomp and smack his food. His wife never mentions it to him, so we have to assume it doesn't bother her as much as it does us. How do I approach him so as not to embarrass him but to let him know that it is socially unacceptable to eat with one's mouth open and rather disgusting for those who have to hear it? -- Hoping for Closed Lips
Dear Hoping for Closed Lips: When broaching such delicate subjects, I find that one way to avoid embarrassing the other person is to take some of the blame yourself. For example, you could tell him you are particularly sensitive to hearing people chew or something of that ilk. Alternatively, you could try putting on some classical music during dinnertime, a soothing soundtrack to cover up some of his unpleasant sound effects.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.