Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friends Involve Reader in Marriage Problems

DEAR HARRIETTE: Two of my friends have been married to each other for over a decade. Their marital problems began when they had their first and only child.

I get calls from each one confiding in me, and I have been taken through the roller coaster of them nearing divorce and then switching their tune after a vacation. It sadly always loops back to divorce. I have run out of advice to give them. I want to believe in loving someone forever, but could they just be doomed? -- Roller Coaster Ride, Denver

DEAR ROLLER COASTER RIDE: Married couples go through all kinds of twists and turns in their lives together. Some couples experience many rocky periods, like your friends. While you cannot control what happens to them, you can control what you do.

It is not your responsibility be their sounding board. The emotional exhaustion that you constantly experience because they include you in their marital ups and downs must come to an end. This will require you to tell each of them that you cannot listen to their woes anymore. Make it clear that you love them both and want the best for them, but that you cannot continue being in the middle of their challenges anymore. After you tell them, you will have to reinforce your decision by changing the subject whenever they bring up their issues.