DEAR NATALIE: Money changed my friend. She married someone extremely wealthy and now they live this very extravagant lifestyle. The problem is, she doesn’t see how it is changing her. It’s actually making her kind of mean. She isn’t friendly in general, anymore, and I notice how she treats people in the service industry when we are out together. It’s almost embarrassing to be with her. I miss my old friend who was kind and humble and able to laugh at herself. I don’t really know how to act around my “new rich friend” and it is making me less interested in her -- which breaks my heart. How do I stay connected to someone who is rapidly changing into a different person? I feel like our lives are going in different directions and I just wish I had my friend back. -MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING
DEAR MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING: Some people say that having more money makes us more of who we are. And maybe that’s true. And maybe it’s also true that when we see another side of someone we care about — especially if it is less-than-flattering — it can be hard to unsee it. We then have to figure out how to accept where they are in our lives and where we fit into theirs. It sounds as though you and your friend are at an impasse, but she doesn’t know it. Can you be friends with someone who is unkind to the people around her? Are you mourning, instead, the death of a friendship because you see the writing on the wall? Take some space for yourself to figure out what you want to do with this relationship. If you feel it is worth saving, you may need to have a heart-to-heart with her and see if she fully understands how she is acting towards others. She honestly may not realize it and welcome the (gentle!) observation. But, if she isn’t open to hearing this, you may need to rethink your relationship or be ready to take a step back emotionally. It can be really hard to walk away from people that we love, but not every relationship lasts a lifetime. Sometimes, we must also accept the seasons of our lives and the people that come and go, as well. It doesn’t make what you had any less valuable or important.
DEAR NATALIE: My husband and I have different philosophies on aging. He says I should just embrace it and just age gracefully. But why should I age if I don’t have to? Botox and fillers are so mainstream now and my friends are all doing it. I think they look great. We actually got into a fight about this the other night. He said it will ruin my face. I don’t understand this. Don’t men want their wives to look younger? What’s wrong with wanting to feel and look sexy? And isn’t it “my body, my choice?” —AGING? NO THANKS
DEAR AGING? NO THANKS: While I appreciate both sides of this disagreement, obviously it is your choice what you do with your body. However, take what your husband says into consideration on this one. If you found a partner who loves you just as you are and is attracted to you as you are, that is a wonderful thing. I would just ask yourself why you are wanting to use these products. If it is truly because you want to feel your best and you feel this will help you in that journey, then go for it. But if there is a part of you that worries about aging because of how you are perceived by others, maybe take a moment to reflect on that. There are so many competing messages out there about women and the policing of women’s bodies. I am not about to tell you one way or another what you should do. Only you can make that call. I would just say to you that if part of this is out of fear about your husband finding you attractive, take his words into account. See how it feels to lean into your body and face as they are. See how it feels to be in your own skin. And, if you find that it isn’t about him at the end of the day and it really is about you, then do what makes you feel your best. The good thing is, those fillers and Botox wear off. So, if you try it and realize it isn’t for you, at least you didn’t make any permanent decisions.
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