Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Invitation to Summer House Raises Questions

DEAR HARRIETTE: My 12-year-old daughter went to sleep-away camp this summer and made friends with some girls whom she wants to stay friends with. One of them is very wealthy, though she seems down to earth. The wealthy girl has invited my daughter to visit her in the Hamptons before summer is out, which is very kind, but I’m not sure if this is a good idea. I don’t want my daughter to feel uncomfortable because she doesn’t have as much as this girl. We are practical people and have exposed our daughter to all kinds of experiences. Maybe I am overthinking this. The girl’s parents seem nice and grounded. She seems to be genuinely interested in becoming closer to my daughter. Should I let my daughter spend the weekend with them? -- Overexposure, Jersey City, New Jersey

DEAR OVEREXPOSURE: You consciously put your daughter in the environment where she met this other girl. They developed a natural friendship, which you should allow her to cultivate. Spending time with people who have more resources than you is fine. As long as your daughter is being treated nicely and feels comfortable and safe, you should allow her to expand her experiences. Talk to the parents to be sure of whatever she may need when she is with them and to gauge your comfort level. If all seems well, let her go.

In general, I think it is smart to expose your children to all kinds of people and different ways of living. This helps them to see how big the world is and how diverse our experiences can be. You should reciprocate and invite this girl to visit your daughter. It doesn’t matter that you live more modestly. If the two of them are truly to be friends, they should feel comfortable spending time in both environments.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Whenever my husband drinks too much, he talks about our sex life in detail -- especially if we are hanging out with friends. He uses this opportunity to badmouth me about what I’m doing in the bedroom that isn't to his satisfaction. This is humiliating. I admit that we have been having difficulties that include lack of intimacy, but I do not appreciate him trying to shame me in the company of our friends when he is drinking. How can I get him to stop? -- Drunk Speak, Detroit

DEAR DRUNK SPEAK: It sounds like you and your husband need therapy. Obviously, the state of your sex life is bothersome to your husband if he tends to blurt out your business when he is under the influence. Should he stop drinking? Of course, but that is a symptom of a much bigger issue. Do your best to get your husband to go to therapy with you so that you can talk through your issues and work to figure out how to come back together intimately. You may also consider a sex therapist who specializes in helping couples rekindle romance.

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