Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friend's Absence After Party Hurts Host

DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a big party last week, and lots of friends came. We had a wonderful time. It is my practice to sit down and chat with a couple of people after big events and experiences just to talk about everything and remember the highlights of the night.

My friend who I wanted to talk to the most about the party has virtually disappeared. He does that, so I’m not worried about him, but I am disappointed. He knew how important this event was for me, and I expected him to be a little less selfish and more thoughtful. The debrief afterward is something we do together. I know I have to get over it, but how can I let him know that his absence hurt my feelings? -- The Debrief

DEAR THE DEBRIEF: Hopefully you have other friends who did the debrief with you so that you didn’t feel totally disconnected in the aftermath of your event. As far as this guy goes, tell him directly that it hurt your feelings that he didn’t complete your practice of talking about the event afterwards. But know that if this is his M.O., you may just have to accept that he will not be the one you can count on for that part of the experience.

It is important to accept what you know about people. Sometimes we make the mistake of superimposing our wishes onto others and then get our feelings hurt when they disappoint us. Don’t get caught up in that trap, or you will always end up disappointed.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband gets drunk at least once a week, and he becomes belligerent and loud. It’s so disgusting to me. We live in an apartment building with thin walls, and I know the neighbors hear him when he gets loud and aggressive. He has never hurt me, but he gets pushy and kind of nasty in his language. He always wants to have sex when he’s drunk, and I definitely don’t want to do that. So we reach a standoff. It’s messy. How can I get him to understand that when he gets like that, it is a complete turnoff? -- Drunk Husband

DEAR DRUNK HUSBAND: When your husband is sober, get him to sit down and talk to you. Be courageous during this conversation. Tell him how it makes you feel when he gets drunk, loud and aggressive. Point out that it’s bad enough that you feel uncomfortable, but it’s worse because the neighbors can hear him. Ask him to curb his drinking.

Make it clear to your husband that you will not ever want to have sex with him when he is in that condition. Suggest that when he is sober and aware of himself, it is much easier for the two of you to enjoy each other’s company, including intimacy. If you can make it clear to him that the chance for that physical closeness that he wants is there if he can stop drinking, it may prove to be incentive for him.

(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.)