“My Husband is Choosing Golf Over His Sick Wife”

I am 55 and have been married for 36 years. I have many chronic illnesses which have put a strain on my marriage. My husband, with a group of guys he has played golf with for over 20 years, has an annual trip out of town coming up. I have post-menopausal spotting and my doctor has decided to schedule surgery to rule out cancer. I was given two dates, and one is the last day of the golf trip. The other is at the end of the month. I chose the first date as I am a little worried this is cancer.

My husband will not cut his trip short as they play a “tournament,” so my sister is taking off work to take me. I am extremely hurt and angry. He says that if it were cancer, they’d have scheduled the surgery right away. This is not the first time he has chosen golf over me. This is the most critical time. I don’t know if I should leave him or not. He used to have a drinking problem, where he would lash out at me and say hurtful things. He hasn’t done that recently, but now he is gambling. I feel hopeless. — Left for Golf

Honestly, I think the alcohol problem, the lashing out at you saying hurtful things, and now the gambling are far worse offenses than his not cutting short an annual trip with his friends to take you to surgery when you have a sister who can take you and you could have chosen a different day for the surgery that isn’t a schedule conflict. If you have many chronic illnesses, your husband has probably felt a lot of strain over the years supporting you and I would bet this annual golf trip is something he really looks forward to to relieve stress and decompress a bit.

I would also bet he is not a stranger to your worrying that you have cancer. I don’t say that to dismiss your fear, and maybe I’m wrong and this is the first time you’re facing such a worry, but if you have a history of chronic illnesses, logically it would make sense that your husband has been through a lot of diagnostic tests and procedures with you and it’s ok if this one time your sister is by your side instead. If you get results right away and the news is bad, you’ll still have a strong support system with you and your husband will be there within 24 hours.

As for leaving your husband, I wouldn’t do so over this one offense, but if your husband has a history of blowing off what you consider important events and is generally unsupportive, then it’s probably time to consider whether you would be happier without him in your life. As I said earlier, the drinking problem and the lashing out at you, and now gambling, seem like bigger offenses. But they are all behaviors that can be addressed with counseling (both individual and couples counseling), which is definitely something I recommend if you’re to have any hope to get this marriage on a happier, more functional track.

I am a junior in college and have been single for well over a year now without any real issues. I’ve always been fairly picky and just hadn’t found a guy that I really clicked with. A little over a month ago, I found my “unicorn” of sorts. I met him in class my freshman year when we were both in other relationships. We have recently re-connected and honestly it has been a whirlwind, and it’s been great. All of my friends love him, and he genuinely enjoys spending time with them and me! I’ve met and become close with many of his friends and even some of his family. We have had the “exclusivity” talk — something that he brought up first.

This is honestly my dream man: smart, driven, kind, and passionate. I am bringing him home to meet my family this weekend and he seems genuinely excited about it, which makes me giddy. Theres one thing — the other day we were sitting together and he was showing me something on his phone when I noticed that his ex-girlfriend is his #1 best friend on snapchat! He’s talked about her before and how their relationship was toxic and how he was really hurt by the whole situation. I had no idea they still talked, and I don’t know how to bring it up without sounding like a crazy person that is stalking his phone. Help!! — “Crazy” For My Unicorn

Look, there’s nothing “crazy” about being interested in the friendships of someone you’re newly dating or seeking clarification over what seems like contradicting personal information. And if you’re ever with someone who makes you feel you’re “crazy” for seeking clarification – either by insinuating or explicitly stating so, consider that a great big red flag. What I would do if I were you is to say to this guy, without an accusatory tone: “Hey, the other day when you were showing me something on your phone, I noticed that your ex was your best friend on snapchat. I was surprised since you’d mentioned how toxic your relationship had been and how hurt you were by the situation. I’ve met so many of your friends and family now, but I wasn’t even aware she was still in your life, so it felt confusing.” And then see what his response is. Again, if he makes you feel crazy for bringing this up, consider that a red flag.

Something that gives me pause about your situation is that you only re-connected with this guy just over a month ago and you’re already saying that you’ve “met and become close with many of his friends and even some of his family.” Really? After a month of reconnecting with him, you’re already close with some of his friends and family? It takes time to build up a closeness with someone, let alone someone’s friends and family. It takes time to get to know someone — not just all these wonderful “unicorn” traits, but the flaws, too.

When you set someone up on a pedestal right out of the gate, he’s going to fall off because perfection isn’t sustainable. And you can’t create an insta-relationship in a matter of weeks either. What you can do in a few weeks is start to build a foundation, which is the phase you’re in. Learning more about his personal history and the people in his life who are important to him will hopefully strengthen your foundation, but if he acts shady about any parts of his personal history that potentially affect your relationship, take heed of the warning and proceed with caution.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. I am an Old, so my Snapchat usage is currently nonexistent, but back in the day when I was dating a guy way younger, he still showed up as my No. 1 best friend on Snapchat for a while after we stopped seeing each other, because we had Snapped so much during our relationship and I didn’t really use it with anybody else. So maybe that’s what’s happening?

    1. That’s what I thought too but I’ve literally never used snapchat to communicate with anyone – the extent of my usage is taking selfies with my kids on occasion – so I wasn’t sure how the “best friend” status is calculated.

      1. Yeah, the way it’s calculated could definitely have changed since the last time I used it.

    2. dinoceros says:

      Presumably he uses snapchat often, though, so if so, then it would mean that he snaps with her more often than anyone else. Or at least very frequently.

      1. dinoceros says:

        Though maybe I’m wrong? As I read other responses. Mine tends to change quite a bit, so maybe mine is goofy.

  2. Bittergaymark says:

    LW1) choosing THAT date was highly manipulative and more than a little drama queen. As was tossing in the word GAMBLING with no real explanation or details. Many people gamble. They don’t all have gambling problems… You seem to be looking to be miserable. Frankly, you sound exhausting. It’s a wonder your husband doesn’t extend his trip. God knows I would…

    LW2) Oh, for fucks sake. I’ve never even USED snap chat and even I know how it works. It’s based on the overall history of your usage, Miss Needless Drama Queen # 2.

    1. I totally agree about the manipulative date for #1. So I have two parents who have had cancer. When my mom had a bad ultrasound, she was under the knife less than 10 days after the first ultrasound. That included a second ultrasound, biopsy and then lumpectomy all in 10 days. If you have cancer, they move fast. My mother in law had a mysterious mass and they pushed of her biopsy for weeks. they were pretty sure it wasn’t anything and it wasn’t. If it was serious, she would be in sooner.

  3. LW#1: You say you have several chronic health conditions that have put a strain on your marriage and your husband appears to be your primary caregiver. People universally recommend that primary caregivers also take time to take care of themselves and have other friends and family members serve as back up during those times. That’s what this trip is for your husband – him taking a minute to take care of himself. That’s allowed. And it’s selfish of you to schedule your appointment on a day where you know it will interfere with that and then complain that the back up support person isn’t enough for you. Manipulating your husband into giving up something he enjoys due to your refusal to accept another support system is going to further strain, if not end, your marriage. I appreciate that having health issues is scary, but that doesn’t mean that everything stops and has to be all about you. Accept the support you have, get your results and proceed from there, but let this go. Wish your husband a good trip and tell him you can deal with whatever this issue is when he gets back.

    Finally, I’m not sure what the purpose of you bringing up your husband’s past drinking problem or his decision to gamble now is, other than to drum up sympathy and paint yourself as a martyr married to a scoundrel and gin up sympathy. Knock that shit off. If the gambling is a problem, then address it, but it’s got nothing to do with what you wrote in about. If you haven’t already, consider speaking to a counselor, alone or as a couple. You seem very unhappy and are dealing with many issues. An outside perspective could help.

    1. x100000000000000 especially regarding LW’s last little blurb about the gambling and past alcohol addiction.

  4. dinoceros says:

    LW1: If it were only this one surgery, I’d probably say that it’s not the worst thing in the world. You have someone to drive you, it’s not a serious surgery (not downplaying your anxiety over the results, but it’s not a major surgery), and it’s right at the end, so he’ll be back still to help take care of you/be there for the results. The issue is that you’re indicating that he has made you feel like he doesn’t care, lashed out, and has had addiction issues for a while. You need to focus less on this one instances and look at your marriage as a whole. It’s hard to change other people, especially when their behavior is clearly ingrained in who they are as a person, so you need to figure out if you are willing to put up with the state of your marriage long-term. I’m not trying to be harsh, but if he’s always been like this, then you’ve been choosing to accept this behavior.

  5. Sea witch says:

    When I broke my fibula it took nearly 24 hours to fully wake up after having surgery to bolt it back together with a tiny metal plate. I imagine that abdominal surgery on the uterus would be much longer and take that much longer to fully wake up from. So the LW wouldn’t really know whether her husband was there or not, on the actual day of the surgery. I guarantee she’d be sound asleep for quite a while afterward and dozing on and off for many hours into the next day.

  6. LW1, your procedure is likely a short day case surgery and they’re not usually able to give you a definite answer on the day, it usually takes a few days to a week for the histology results. Appreciate your sister’s support and let you husband have the trip he’s been looking forward to. If it’s cancer (and most of the time it actually isn’t), then there’ll be a follow up with the results, more scans and additional surgery and he can be there for that which is a far more important time.

  7. Should you leave him? Then what will you do for help. It sounds like he goes on a golf trip annually for the past 20 years. Is that what you mean by he has put golf before you previously? It seems a rather minimal break of self-time with friends for you main source of support. Do you seriously think your life is going to be easier and better without him. I doubt it. I’m sure you are frightened by your illnesses, but responding by being overly controlling to your principal support person isn’t going to ease your fears and it’s unreasonable to expect him to always be there.

  8. LW#1 Please do your husband a favor and leave him. You sound exhausting and highly manipulative. It sounds like his life has been hell.

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