DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriends and I are admittedly a catty group. We have frequent drama but always end up growing closer when all is said and done. Recently, a friend's husband, "Al," has been getting involved in our arguments. Having a friend's husband call me to discuss something I said about his wife is ludicrous to me. We are all grown women who don't need husbands meddling in our drama. How can I tell Al that his two cents are not (and will never be) welcome? -- Not Your Battle, Boston
DEAR NOT YOUR BATTLE: Consider a different thought here. If Al is contacting you about your argument with his wife, there's a chance that his wife is still upset about whatever you discussed with her. It may easily be that she leaves your argument and either goes home still angry or, worse, her husband overhears her on the phone -- or in person -- arguing with you and has to pick up the pieces when she pivots to him.
My point? Take heed. Perhaps you are being a bit too catty, and this is why Al is speaking up in defense of his wife for the sake of peace in his household. Rather than rebuffing him, let his call to you be your wake-up call to tone down the drama.
DEAR HARRIETTE: If a couple gets back together after an extended breakup (months to years), is a new anniversary date set? I personally started over, but my best friend claims that getting back together is simply a continuation of the past relationship. Should I be shifting over the anniversary date? -- Modern Love, Minneapolis
DEAR MODERN LOVE: Instead of talking to your best friend about this, it is appropriate to talk to your partner. The two of you are in this relationship together. Does it feel like this is a total new beginning or a continuation of what you had together in the past? Do the two of you want to mark your coming back together as a fresh start? Talk about it.
Some couples have rededication ceremonies or even anniversary weddings to honor their continued union. You can do whatever you want. The point is that you consider your options together and decide together how you want to acknowledge the bond that you have.
Getting your friends involved could prove problematic, especially given that you have just gotten back into each other's lives in a committed way. Chances are your friends know a lot about the negative experiences that you had with each other. People tend to moan long and often about the bad stuff. It is best not to mix the friendships in with the romance. Reserve a special part of your life for your partner that you do not share with others, unless you both agree that it is OK to do so. This may take a while to put into practice, since it is likely not how you have been operating. Trust that it is worth it. To preserve and strengthen your relationship, you must put it first.
(Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)