Q. My wife and I have been married for 27 years and are still deeply in love with each other.
She has had a best female friend for the last 20 years. The two women have planned to have a girls’ week away soon; the husbands will join them for an additional week, so it will be the four of us.
Over the years I have always sensed that the other husband, “Jasper,” had a thing for my wife, but I’ve let it go.
Recently the four of us went out. At one point my wife and Jasper were alone at the table. He made some comments about her appearance, revealed his feelings for her, and took her hand and placed it on his upper thigh. He said they should be together.
When I returned I sensed that something was wrong, but I left it alone. My wife and I discussed it the next day, and she wants me to “let it go.”
So here is the dilemma: The ladies are still going on their trip, but I’m not sure I can travel with them and then spend a week with this so-called friend. I don’t think I can trust him anymore.
Do I confront him and put all my cards on the table? Do I simply let the ladies go on their trip and the guys stay home? Or should I keep my silence and watch him like a hawk?
A. I can understand why your wife wants you to perpetually leave things alone, but she doesn’t get to decide how you should react when someone crosses a line and interferes with your relationship. “Jasper’s” actions have a profound impact on you, and you should confront him.
Depending on his reaction to this confrontation, I could imagine it clearing the air and then being able to resume a friendship (after some extreme awkwardness). Either way, if he decides to go on this trip, you should go too. At this point, watching him like a hawk is definitely called for.
Q. I have a co-worker who is extremely annoying. There is something wrong with her, but I’m not sure what — perhaps a mental illness or disability.
She constantly communicates with me, to the point where I have started to just ignore her. We have an instant-messaging system at work, and all day long she sends me messages and comments. I tell her I am busy, but she doesn’t let up! She also texts me and sends Facebook messages when I’m home. I cannot take it. (At least at work I can get paid to put up with her.)
She has done this to several other people at work who have simply deleted her from their contacts or not replied at all to her messages. I don’t want to deal with her that way. I want to tell her that she needs to back off! She is about 20 years older than me, and she is just plain (sorry to say it) weird.
How can I tell her I do not want to be friends without hurting her feelings?
A. This person may not be able to behave according to your terms. You seem determined to retrain someone who may not see the world, or relationships, the way you do.
The kindest thing to do is to say to your co-worker, “I’m sorry, but you do message me a lot. I don’t really like that. Can you not send me so many messages? It makes me feel bad that I can’t answer them.”
After that statement, a combination of technology-blocking and tolerance is called for.
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