Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend -- who I grew up with and have known all my life -- lives about 30 minutes away, which is great because we hang out all the time. Her husband is not so happy about that. He is a really nice guy, and I like him, but for some reason he seems to hate that we hang out. He always has to keep tabs on her and makes her come home early. I have never said anything to her, but I think her husband doesn't like me very much. I don't know what to do. I am not going to stop hanging out with her because of him, but I don't want it to hurt her marriage. -- Best Friend, Racine, Mich.

DEAR BEST FRIEND: Could it be that you spend too much time together? If your friend's husband feels like he has to jockey for time with his wife, he could be jealous of your friendship. When people get married, the balance is supposed to shift so that the husband and wife put each other first and ensure that they can spend time together on a regular basis.

I bet if you ease up some on how much time you "steal her away" from her husband, the animosity factor will reduce significantly. He may end up liking you after all, if you can figure out how to share his wife!

DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, my uncle informed me that one of my cousins had passed away. He sent me a text asking if I am planning to attend the funeral. I think I have seen this particular cousin only about two or three times in my life. The funeral is going to take place in a few days, and I am going to tell my uncle that I will not be in attendance. Do you think I am wrong for not attending the funeral? -- Family Second, Brooklyn, N.Y.

DEAR FAMILY SECOND: While there is no requirement for you to attend this cousin's funeral, there is also no reason for you to be cold about it. Your uncle reached out to include you in an important rite of passage, bringing closure to someone's life. Take the time to talk to your uncle. Ask him how he is doing. Check in to see how he is feeling and if you can do anything to support him.

What's interesting about death is that the grieving is for the living. Your involvement in your cousin's funeral in whatever way it may occur will be for those who are still alive. With that in mind, figure out how you can be a positive contributor to your family in this time of sadness. You may discover a renewed interest in your family, including those who are still living, but with whom you have not been close.