Just a Few Well-Chosen Words
Dear Margo: I am writing about my big sister, who is a beautiful professional woman in her late 30s. She’s an amazing, generous, successful and brilliant person, and she’s also my best friend. She has been my biggest cheerleader and defender and has gotten me out of more than a few sticky situations. She has always respected my choices, even if they weren’t hers. Now I feel I soon may be in the hot seat as her defender, and I want to do it right.
Her only shortcoming is that she doesn’t have great taste in men, which may be why she is on her third marriage, which seems like it may be on its way to being over. (He is excessively jealous and insecure, and is possibly a cheater.) I totally support her divorcing for a third time if she feels it’s the right thing to do. I always try to be the best sister and friend possible.
My question to you is: How do I handle people’s needling remarks about her many marriages when she does divorce again? I am not well equipped to respond to questions like “So what broke up THIS marriage THIS time?” or “So who will No. 4 be?” I would love some advice about responding to these people or, frankly, shutting them up. –Trying To Be a Supportive Little Sister
Dear Try: How nice you are to want to pitch in for your big sister and close down the clods who feel they have to needle you. As it happens, I know something about this subject. As for any remark along the lines of “What happened this time?” you could make it plain you don’t appreciate the question by saying something like, “He wouldn’t pick up his socks.” As for, “Who will No. 4 be?” you might say, “We’re hoping for a heart surgeon.” –Margo, historically
Not Wise To Be Jealous of Husband’s Friends
Dear Margo: I consider myself a sane and rational person, but everyone is irrational sometimes, right? My husband and I are in our mid-20s and newly married, and we have a great relationship. There is “Kelly,” though. I absolutely do not think my husband has cheated on me (or would), but I cannot get his relationship with Kelly out of my head. They are just friends — I know they are — but for some reason it bugs me.
Kelly and I were in different social groups in college but had some mutual friends. She always seemed nice and was one of those people I thought I could be friends with, but we never got the chance to know each other. After I met and started dating my husband, I found out they were friends. They’ve stayed in touch since we graduated.
Now he is on a business trip in the area where she lives, and they will be meeting up. I shouldn’t have a problem with this, but I do. Getting to know her better would help, but now she lives far from us, so this is not an option. I know I’m being crazy, and it’s even worse because she seems like a genuinely nice person. How do I stop letting their relationship bother me? Do I tell my husband about my crazy feelings? (I haven’t yet). –Insecure and Temporarily Crazy
Dear In: What you are feeling is free-floating jealousy mixed with insecurity. Everyone gets nutty or irrational ideas at one time or another. The thing you have to tell yourself is that nothing is driving your insecurity except … your insecurity. If this girl had meant anything to your husband, he would have chosen her. It sounds like they didn’t even date. As someone who travels (with a husband who travels), I can tell you that checking in with friends — of either gender — can make a business trip fun. If your new husband has given you no reason to mistrust him, then don’t. (And don’t tell him. That would just introduce another unnecessary element.) –Margo, trustingly
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to email@example.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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