DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I just returned from visiting friends we had not seen in a few years. As usual with each visit, we were given a tour of their home to see the redecorating, remodeling and, of course, the new furniture. We sat and listened all about their jobs, the clubs to which they belong and the committees on which they serve. Not to mention we also heard about all their trips and viewed dozens of photos of their children and grandchildren and heard all about the kids' homes, their families, their honors, their accomplishments -- as if we haven’t seen all of this on social media. However, we were not asked a single question about our jobs, our children or our grandchildren, and when we began to talk about them, the topic was quickly redirected to something about them. What would be the best way to move forward with this friendship? -- Friend or Foe, Richmond, Virginia
DEAR FRIEND OR FOE: You have to decide if you care to continue to visit with these people. Since you call their behavior “usual” for how you interact with them, you cannot be surprised that they are self-centered and impatient when you attempt to share details about your own lives. If this is not satisfactory to you, stop agreeing to go to visit them.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 37 and have three children under the age of 12. Two years ago, my husband and I separated. He moved back home with his parents. I just found out he has a girlfriend, but he has not made any effort to file for divorce. Here's my question: How long should I go on trying to salvage my marriage? I honestly feel like I’m the only one working to save it. Should I just get on with my life without him, or keep praying he will have a change of heart and do the right thing? -- Two Years Too Long, Boston
DEAR TWO YEARS TOO LONG: Your husband is demonstrating by his behavior that he has moved on. He has moved out, is living with his parents and has a girlfriend. That doesn’t sound like someone who is trying to figure out how to get back together with you. Your next steps need to have your children and yourself in mind. Contact an attorney and find out what you need to do to protect yourself and your children and to ensure that your husband provides the appropriate financial support for them. Be proactive and file divorce papers yourself. He has moved on, and so should you.
If there’s a chance for the family to reconcile, your serious action toward closure will wake him up and force him to see the truth. It may also help to accelerate the inevitable. Time will tell.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)