Dear Amy: My wife and I have been married for 12 years. We have three boys. My wife is a high school teacher. She teaches higher-level math, and we have always had her students over at our house for help outside of school.
I have always been supportive of this, but last year she had a student who didn't really need help come over. This student has a job and family in the same town, but he has basically moved in with us.
On top of that, my wife has been helping him start up a side business and has been working on jobs with him.
I am starting to get the feeling that something is up. He is never at the house when it's just me and the kids there, but shows up after my wife gets home, and if my wife has to run to the grocery store, he goes with her.
We have a family vacation coming up and my wife invited him and a friend to go with us. I wasn't asked. Now it seems that because of the lack of space in the vacation house, I have been basically disinvited — it will just be the kids, the two teens and my wife.
I have tried to talk to her, but she doesn't seem to see where I am coming from. I don't think that there is anything going on between the two of them, but I do feel like she enjoys his company more than mine. Am I making too much of this?
Amy says: You have a voice, and you need to use it. Stop trying to explain yourself, and start exerting your right to be a full partner in your marriage and family. That includes the right to call out your wife's outrageous behavior.
No teacher should conduct tutoring sessions at her home. No teacher should invite a student to live with her — unless the student is a foreign exchange student, and with permission of the school.
No partner and parent should start up a side business without her partner's full assent, or invite people on a family vacation and then maneuver to keep her husband at home.
The way you describe this scenario, your wife is violating personal and professional boundaries. Stop being so passive, and confront her. Given what you describe, she is at risk of losing her job. And given the alarming implications of what you describe, she should not be working with young people.
Stuck in friend zone
Dear Amy: "David" and I have been friends for two years, and at times it seems as if he likes me more than as just a friend, but then when I think our friendship might go down the romance path, we take a sharp turn away from that topic.
I have a hard time relating to people because of past trauma. I do not trust people easily, nor do I care to be alone with guys, but when I am alone with him, I feel safe and comfortable.
Please help me figure out what I am feeling.
Amy says: It sounds like "David" is a very good friend, and wants to stay that way. Maybe what you are feeling right now is a beautiful thawing of your frozen heart, because you have a trustworthy male friend in your life.
When you start a romance with a person, be sure that your feelings are mutual. Since you're not sure, and from your letter it sounds like he isn't, either, trying to rev up a friendship into a romantic relationship could get messy. It puts your treasured friendship at risk.
Allow yourself this gift: a male friend you can trust, who you feel comfortable and safe around. Enjoy this healthy relationship, and let it help you to grow.
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