Ask Amy: Wife wants husband to stop being a nosy parker

Garden City Telegram

Dear Amy: My husband is taking a company “buyout” this summer, thus retiring from his job.

The concern I have is that he is nosy! He has done things in the past that have upset me and my children (he is their stepdad).

He seems to think he is entitled to go through their rooms and poke through their things, under the guise of cleaning.

He has taken toys out of my son’s room and given them to our grandchildren without asking. He rearranged my daughter’s room while she was at school, and she came back home to a completely re-arranged room.

While helping my daughter’s boyfriend, I caught him going through a box of papers in the back of the boyfriend’s car. I told him that these things were none of his business and his reply was, “It is if I make it my business.”

My kids have given us no cause to go through their rooms - no drinking/smoking/stealing or other causes for snooping.

My daughter has since graduated from college and is heading toward graduate school.

My son (who will be 21 soon) works and currently lives with us.

My husband has poked around their rooms for years regardless of me telling him that they are older and deserve their privacy. He should not be going through their things!

My son doesn’t clean the way he likes, so he uses that as an excuse to go into his room.

I’m concerned that when he’s retired and at home, he’s most likely going to be going through things he has no right to rifle through.

I know that if I confront him with this worry, he’ll get angry, as he always does.

Any suggestions? - Pre-Retirement Jitters Wife

Dear Jitters: Evidently, there isn’t any way for you to advocate for your children’s very reasonable right to privacy without your husband becoming angry, so let him be angry.

I can’t think of any loving spouse who enjoys confronting their partner about a recurring and challenging issue, but if you are too afraid of your husband’s anger to address his entitled and disrespectful habit, then this is a real red flag regarding your relationship.

In fact, the person who rearranges a young woman’s room without asking and who goes through and gives away his stepson’s property, sounds like a bully who believes he can make anything “his business,” and who rules the roost through intimidation.

I could imagine that your son might want to install a lock on his bedroom door, but given that he does not actually own the house (or his bedroom), the better option would be for him to search for other housing. In the meantime, you should urge him to store anything deeply personal or private off-site.

And yes, every time you witness your husband violating your (or someone else’s) privacy, you should call him on it. If you are too afraid of his anger to talk to him about this, then this is not someone you should be cohabiting with in retirement, when he will have much more time on his hands.

Dear Amy: How can I deal with a co-worker who truly believes the pandemic is a hoax?

He is otherwise great to deal with and pleasant to talk to. - Stressed in Sacramento

Dear Stressed: For now, you should mainly deal with this person at a safe distance.

Otherwise, since the worldwide pandemic is not a hoax, you don’t have to prove reality.

He is making an assertion. So, if you choose to engage with his assertion (I don’t know why you would), then you could ask him to prove that the pandemic is a hoax. But like those people who believe that man’s walk on the moon was staged, you should prepare yourself for an endless stream of nonsense, faked “evidence,” and denial.

Dear Amy: A reader recently took you to task for suggesting that you might start a first date with the announcement that you have an “event” later - in case you want to cut things short.

This is not really lying. The “event” can be seen as a meeting - with yourself. I found this to be quite helpful when meeting online matches for the first time. I kept the first meeting short and then would go home and try to clear my head from that first-date excitement and those impulses that sometimes made me ignore obvious red flags. - Experienced

Dear Experienced: Though tame, I continue to believe that the coffee date is the best and wisest choice for a first date.