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Ask Amy: Crush brings forth personal challenges



Dear Amy: Several months ago, I confessed to one of my best friends of 10 years (we’re both women) that I felt extremely close to her and that sometimes I had more than platonic feelings.

We were drinking in excess and shared a long, intimate hug. This was more than a platonic hug, but we discussed the situation and buried it. The issue is that she has a wife, and so do I.

This created a lot of personal anxiety and fear that she would cut me off or that our relationship would change. All of us (spouses included) were extremely close.

After the “event,” we continued to hang out regularly, and everything appeared to be normal, but on the inside I was struggling with major depression and drank in excess.

A month after this encounter, I texted her and expressed that I felt hopeless and that I wanted to give up. (I had just left her house where we were all drinking heavily).

After that night, she told her wife what happened and completely cut me out of her life.

I understand that space and distance was necessary, and since then, I’ve reduced my alcohol consumption and stopped using social media.

I have come to terms with the fact that our friendship is likely over, but I have basically shrunk down by not engaging frequently with our mutual friends. I feel embarrassed and ashamed but mostly, I feel somewhat exiled from my tribe.

I have been honest with my wife and we have worked through it. This situation has caused me to take a long, hard look at myself.

I am worrying about what others think of me and how those relationships were impacted.

I feel a little lonely and lost.

Maybe I shouldn’t shrink down. Maybe I’m punishing myself, but maybe I deserve it. Your thoughts?

– Exiled

Dear Exiled: I’m going to do an end run around your current relationship issues and take a stab at what I believe is at the center of your predicament: Your drinking. Alcohol is lubricating all of this drama. Your alcohol use is also inflaming your depression, because alcohol is a depressant.

Your depression is inspiring you to ruminate on your perceived losses. Your depression, along with your embarrassment, is causing you to “shrink down” and punish yourself.

But you might think of this shrinking down as marking the beginning of your recovery.

Forthright and professional assessment and treatment for your depression will help. Counseling (perhaps with your wife) will guide you to a new level of honesty.

Sobriety will help you to climb out with leavened perceptions and confidence.

Your friends – your real friends – will stick with you. Let them.

Dear Amy: I invited another couple to join my wife and me at a fairly expensive restaurant to celebrate my wife’s birthday.

The other couple did not reach for their wallet when the check arrived.

The check sat for a while, and I finally paid for dinner.

They thanked me, but did not offer to contribute to the cost.

Was their expectation that I intended to pay for the entire dinner reasonable because I invited them to join us for the birthday dinner?

My intention was not to treat them to dinner, but I am not sure how I should have handled this awkward situation.

– Not Cheap, But Confused

Dear Not Cheap: When you issued the invitation for these two people to join you for a celebration dinner, you were asking them to be your guests, and the expectation would be for you to treat them.

The apre-dinner politeness dance dictates that the other couple might reach for their wallets – or offer to pay for the drinks or dessert – and you would say, “Absolutely not – you are our guests.”

Dear Amy: I wanted to add an additional suggestion for “Screened-Out,” the parents who were worried about their kids’ near-constant screen use.

I suggest board games! This is my number one go-to when I want some family time, and has been since my kids were little.

Now that two of our three kids are adults, we still get together for weekly board games and dinner.

We also have a few sets of trivia cards that always end up inspiring some fun conversations.

– Board Silly

Dear Board Silly: Along with other parents, I’m happy to note a surge in the popularity of board games. A YouTube channel called “Watch it Played” hosts tutorial videos on how to play scores of tabletop games, board games and card games.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)



Amy Dickinson , 2024-02-08 09:30:53

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