Discovery of wife's tattoo shatters husband's trust

Dear Abby column
Published: October 25, 2012

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have had many discussions regarding tattoos. She would say she wanted one; I'd disagree.

Well, just before her birthday she had her best friend, a tattoo artist, give her a small tattoo of a dragonfly with dots representing our four children. I didn't know about it for about six weeks, until I walked up behind her at her computer desk and noticed it on her upper shoulder. Our kids knew and hadn't said anything.

I got really mad and left the house for a while. When I returned and began arguing with her, she would say only that it was her body, and she would do whatever she wanted.

I have gotten over the tattoo part, but I haven't forgotten about not knowing and how I finally found out. I am hurt that she didn't tell me. She doesn't think it's worth apologizing for. It seems like everything she does now is one big secret. Please advise.

— Hurt to the Bone in Kentucky

DEAR HURT TO THE BONE: Your wife didn't tell you because she wanted to avoid the argument that she knew would follow. Your children didn't say anything because they were protecting their mother.

It appears that you and your wife have significant communication problems. Counseling might help, and I recommend it because secrets can cause marriages to crumble.

DEAR ABBY: When I was a young woman, I was a single parent. I did it all — the cooking, the cleaning and working. My friends would laugh at how often I'd say, “I need a wife!” I didn't mean it in a sexual way; I simply hated housework and cooking.

When I started dating my husband, my daughter told him, “Mom will never marry you. Men are just more wash and messes.” He told her he would do the housework. Stupidly, I believed him.

The economy tanked, I lost my job, and I have become a housewife. I feel like I'm serving a life sentence in a prison of my own making. I tried to persuade my husband to move so I could find a job and hire a maid. No luck. He decided that since we didn't need as much money, he would work less. Now he works part-time, and I want out.