Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Dislike of Friend's Boyfriend May Be Jealousy

DEAR HARRIETTE: Do I tell my best friend that I do not like her boyfriend? Since my girlfriend met her new boyfriend, I feel like he is cutting in on the time I usually reserve to be with her. Do you think I am jealous that my girlfriend is seeing someone? Please help. -- Third Wheel, Memphis, Tenn.

DEAR THIRD WHEEL: When best friends are accustomed to spending endless hours together and then a boyfriend enters the picture, often all hell breaks loose. The rhythm that the two of you used to share has been interrupted. This can make it hard for the best friend without a boyfriend to manage.

It's good that you realize that your dislike of this guy may actually be jealousy. Rather than doing anything rash, talk to your best friend. Acknowledge that you miss her and have been feeling jealous of the time that she spends with him rather than with you. Tell her that you don't love the way you have been feeling but that it is real.

Tell her you understand that she doesn't have as much time to hang out with you as before, but you hope you two can have some girl time. Also, offer to get to know her boyfriend, too. You stand a better chance of being able to enjoy your friend's company if you change your attitude toward her boyfriend.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been married to my husband for nine years, and I am sad to say this, but I had an extramarital affair three years ago. The relationship lasted for only a short time, when my husband and I were not getting along. The man doesn't live in our city anymore, and we have nothing to do with each other. Things are good between my husband and me now. But I am wondering if I should tell my husband that I had an affair. I feel like it is the right thing for me to do, and I would like your thoughts. -- Guilty, New York City

DEAR GUILTY: I am curious as to what you think you will gain by revealing your past indiscretion. Obviously it was not the right thing to do, so I am not condoning your behavior in any way. At the same time, I believe that revealing something that happened and that is over -- if it really is something from your past -- will only bring pain to your husband. This is why I ask about your intention.

If you want to strengthen your marriage, be fully present. Pay attention to your husband and your relationship. Be the wife that you want to be in your marriage. Let the past go. Consider your indiscretion a terrible mistake that you will not repeat. If, however, your husband ever asks you about it, do not lie. Tell him the truth as you recall it, including your renewed commitment to him and your marriage.