Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband is a kind and gregarious man. We have been married for more than 25 years, and he has always taken care of me. The thing that bothers me is that he has so many female friends. In his line of work, he has to engage a lot of women, so I have always understood that this is a reality of his work life. But I am tired of it. I feel like there is always another woman calling up asking for his advice or wanting to come over to visit. There seems to be a constant stream of females in and out of our lives.

I suppose I should be grateful that he doesn't hide them from me. I do not think he is having affairs with the women, by the way. I just think he enjoys the attention and has the reality of his work to make it OK. But I have had enough. I want my husband to myself. How can I make that happen? -- Tired of Sharing, Los Angeles

DEAR TIRED OF SHARING: The biggest challenge you face is that you didn't put the brakes on the "constant stream of females" for all these years. There is a clear pattern that exists in your marriage that incorporates these people. It may be jarring to your husband that suddenly, so many years later, you want the door to close.

That said, I believe that you deserve to have your husband's attention more squarely focused on the two of you and your marriage. You have to tell him how you feel. Acknowledge that you have been open to including these women in your lives for so long, but that you miss him and want to spend time with him without sharing his attention. Tell him that there would be no greater gift he could give you than to turn his attention to you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: This is in response to "Sympathetic Mom," who wrote about her son not being accepted into his dream college and asking how she could support him. Sometimes, when you don't get in through the front door, you can get in through the back. She stated that he was accepted into another college. My advice? Go to that college and get top grades. Then, in two years, apply for a transfer to his dream college. Hopefully, most of his credits will transfer, and he will be able to get his degree from his first-choice school. Another possible plus? He may save lots of tuition money during those first two years. He may also find, after two years, that he has fallen in love with the backup school and decide to scrap Plan A altogether! -- Optimistic, Chicago

DEAR OPTIMISTIC: Interestingly, community colleges are becoming popular again as ways for students to begin their education, build up their GPAs and transfer to the school of their dreams or one close to that. And, yes, the cost can be significantly lower.