Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I have been discussing marriage a lot recently. A couple of months ago, he asked me to go engagement ring shopping together to get a sense of my ring style. Although some people would not do this because they want it to be a surprise, I liked the idea of picking out my own ring. I showed my boyfriend a ring that I absolutely loved, which was a picture of my friend’s engagement ring. When I told my friend that I wanted a similar engagement ring, she got upset with me. I asked her why, and she explained that she didn’t want me copying her ring style. What is your opinion about claiming ring styles? Am I in the wrong? -- Copied Engagement Ring, Miami

DEAR COPIED ENGAGEMENT RING: I can understand why your friend is uncomfortable about this, but it sounds like she blew it out of proportion. You have some untangling to do. First, you can talk to your boyfriend and tell him that the ring you showed him belongs to a friend. Point out that while you like it, you hope that a variation of that style will ultimately be the choice so that you have something unique.

For your friend, tell her that your love of her ring should be a compliment to her. The last thing that you intended was to insult her. You were trying to respond to your boyfriend’s desire to get you a ring that you would love. Assure her that you will do your best to select a ring that is unique to you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I grew up traveling a lot. I have lived in four countries and have visited over 25 countries. I love to travel and would consider it one of my passions.

My wife, on other hand, grew up in a very different setting. Her family rarely took vacations, and if they did, it was to Florida. She is now 31 and has still never left the U.S.

I always try to convince my wife to join me on my business trips when I go overseas, but she is uncomfortable leaving our home. Do you think this trait is something that can change, or will she be like this our entire marriage? -- Travel Bug, Canton, Ohio

DEAR TRAVEL BUG: Something for you to contemplate is that you selected a wife who had an opposite experience to yours. What about her was and is attractive to you? Part of it must be how grounded she is. You are going to have to accept that her sense of adventure is different from yours. That said, you can introduce her to more of the world, but you may want to start in the United States. Schedule short trips to various landmark destinations that will open her eyes -- and yours -- to the wonders of this country. Let her get her feet wet, so to speak, on American soil. This may intrigue her enough to want to go overseas with you.

She will never likely be ready to travel in the way you prefer. That means that either your international travel days are over, or you travel solo or with a buddy when you feel the need to take a trip.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)