I’m a man who grew up with very close buddies. At 41, I’ve had some friends for over 30 years. But recently I lost one of my longest friendships.
I hadn’t seen this guy for a couple of months. We’d had a minor incident when his daughter and mine competed over a role in a school play. I thought they’d got over it.
But when I recently saw him at a school event and greeted him heartily, he said that he’d lost his job, then turned away.
I immediately texted him that I hadn’t heard and wanted to help … e.g., through contacts I have. He didn’t respond.
I feel terribly about his silence. How do I regain our friendship?
Though you mean well, the solution must be about him, not you, especially since you didn’t recognize the impact of the schoolgirls’ disagreement.
Work your contacts privately. If you find someone who can help your friend, let that person initiate it. That’s the sincerest outreach of all. Your friendship may heal over time. Don’t push it.
I met my husband three years after he’d divorced. When he’d decided to follow his artistic leanings, his then-wife turned critical and bossy.
We fell in love. We moved to a different city (not far from his hometown), and started a new creative business together. We had ups and downs with it, then success.
But my husband’s children weren’t interested and only visited us once, though we regularly invited them and wanted to be close.
I was 41 then, had ended a live-in relationship two years prior, and had never been married. I thought the chance to be “step-mom” to his son, 22 and daughter, 19, was a gift. But sadly, it didn’t happen.
My husband’s friend confided that their mother had told them I’d “stolen” him from her (!), and he didn’t care about them.
They believed her lies, though we also visited them in their city every few months, sent birthday gifts, and phoned every few weeks.
My husband still funded their education pursuits while their mother paid for nothing.
Five years ago, my husband who was 16 years older than me, got cancer. His children didn’t believe me when I phoned them. They expressed no caring at all.
I never called again. He died last year, at 65. He was the love of my life. My grief is tripled by the loss he felt at losing his children’s’ love and all interest in him... except for his will.
How do I heal?
Hole in My Heart
Grief counselling is pretty much a necessity when you’re carrying not only the pain of loss but also the stings of unfairness and distrust over years.
His children chose not to be part of your life together. That was their loss, since their mother obviously influenced them with negatives. Choose grief counselling that’s about you, not them.
There are experienced grief therapists in many fields - e.g., through your particular faith/religion, psychotherapy, life coaching, etc. Do an online search to examine their different approaches.
There are also many books on grief that people have found helpful. Coming from the special nature of the relationship you had with your husband, look for book titles and perspectives that strike a chord.
Focus your own approach on the positives that were in your marriage - love, partnership, shared ambition that brought success, and the journey along the way.
My daughter, 14, thinks wearing make-up “expresses herself.” I allow her to wear “a little bit of eye-liner.”
But she puts it on thick and strong and doesn't look like a teenager. We’ve argued several times in recent months.
I told her she couldn’t wear make-up to school. Now, she’s begged me to allow her to wear “a little” eye-liner there, but again, she’s applying more than we agreed.
She says at least half of the girls wear make-up. I said, wait till you’re 18. She cried.
How much make-up should a girl, 14, be allowed?
To all moms: Choose your battles. Teenage girls influenced by their peers often experiment (as do boys) with ways to express themselves. Eyeliner’s pretty mild among the options.
Make an appointment at a cosmetic counter with a pleasant “expert,” to show your daughter the best eye-liner use for her eye/face shape, plus beginners’ “tips.” It’ll give your daughter the self-confidence she’s seeking. And it’s a bonding experience.
Tip of the day:
Don’t take long friendships for granted. Heal disagreements early.