I am feeling caught in the middle. I am trying hard to stay neutral because both people are important to me. Obviously, I am loyal and supportive to my spouse. However, over the years, I have also become a close confidant to our friend. At this point, my spouse just wants to move on. But our friend, who we see often, is obviously hurting and feeling betrayed.
That said, as of late, my neutrality has started to feel forced and uncomfortable. Do I say something to my friend to try to assuage the problem, and yet be disloyal to my spouse? Or do I remain neutral and risk losing a good friend?
— Trying to be the Good Guy
Trying: Your spouse claims to want to “move on.” I take this to mean that your spouse would basically like to table this conflict and move forward, awkward as that might be. If that is the case, then I wonder why your friend is left feeling hurt and betrayed. Would the friend like to continue the conversation to try to persuade your spouse to adopt the friend’s point of view?
Engaging in a “continued debate” is not everyone’s idea of a useful or productive way to conduct a relationship, especially if the parties don’t communicate effectively or respectfully when they are discussing their differences. I suggest that you work on examining your own perspective.
The disagreement is between the two parties. You should feel comfortable speaking to your friend without believing you are being disloyal to your spouse, as long as you basically urge both parties in the same direction: “I hope you two can work things out to the extent that at the very least you agree to disagree so that we can all move forward in our friendship. That’s the most important thing to me.”
Dear Amy: I have been with my fiancé for 25 years. We’ve lived together for all of that time. I opened my door to his kids and thought we were all family, but I found out that’s not the case.
My fiancé’s grandson died suddenly, and in the death notice his deceased wife was mentioned (as it should be) and all the aunts’ husbands were also mentioned, but nowhere was I mentioned as a loving partner to my fiancé. This was no oversight, nor have his children supported my concern about it.
I have since closed my door to them. I regularly see in death notices that partners are kindly mentioned. Am I wrong to be so hurt?
Wounded: You are not wrong to be hurt by this. I imagine that you feel you have been deleted from the family fold.
I urge you, however, to consider your reaction to this slight. You have made your stand during a tragic time in this family’s life. Please keep in mind that one of your fiancé’s children has lost a child. A child. You don’t know who composed the death notice, and under what circumstances.
Ideally, after noticing the slight, you would have held onto your immediate hurt reaction until the dust had settled somewhat, and then talked to your fiancé, who absolutely should have expressed his disappointment over this exclusion.
You don’t note why you have remained a fiancé for such a long time. I wonder what role, if any, your partner’s children might have in possibly pressuring your partner not to remarry. If that’s the case, then your status in this family has been revealed in a particularly painful way.
Dear Amy: I loved your advice for “Daniel’s Mom” regarding an unexpected game of “guess who’s coming to dinner?” (Her son, who had always dated women, was now dating a man.) I was “Daniel” in this exact situation a couple of years ago.
Our solution? My partner and I sent Christmas cards to family and friends, featuring our smiling faces, holding hands, and: “Make the Yuletide Gay” in big rainbow letters across the front. There was no mistaking what that meant. Everyone invited to our Christmas gathering received one, in advance.
Out: You’re rainbow-writing your own narrative. Good for you!
© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.