DEAR AMY: My husband and I were put in the middle of a situation I don’t want to be in. My cousin and I grew up like sisters — we are very close. In fact, we lived in the same household as teenagers. My cousin and her husband (who is friends with my husband) are on the verge of divorce. My cousin told me her version of her situation, and her husband told us his version. I believe her husband’s version of events a little more than I do my own cousin’s version. My cousin and I have had our share of arguments, but we always end up making up. The thing is that my cousin is the family favorite and my whole family sees her as perfect. It’s like they all have on rose-colored glasses when it comes to her, but I have seen the real her. My history with her and the way we have fought in the past has a lot to do with why I tend to believe her husband. Many of the things he relates are a lot of the same things she does when she fights with me. I’m worried that when this all comes out my family is going to hate me because I believe what her husband has told us. I don’t really want to be in this position. I love my cousin; I just don’t agree with some of the things she does in her marriage. I don’t want to lose what family I have left when this all comes to the surface, but I’m a firm believer in “right is right” and “being true to what you believe.” How do I stand up for what I believe is right and not lose the few family members I have left?
Stuck in the Middle
DEAR STUCK: You are not actually stuck in the middle. You should navigate this by understanding that your cousin’s marriage simply has nothing to do with you. It shouldn’t matter what version of events you choose to believe. This is not your moral battle to wage.
You should expect your family members to sympathize and perhaps side with your cousin. This falls into the age-old category of “blood is thicker than water.” If you want to share your point of view, you should do so directly with your cousin. You can believe whatever you want to believe, but there is no reason for you to gossip with other family members about what is happening with someone else’s marriage.
DEAR AMY: I am an adult in my 30s. I’ve recently been thinking about a classmate I had back in high school. This person had a condition that I would describe as a “nervous tic.” A memory keeps coming up where I feel I may have mocked this person once. I myself am struggling with a similar “tic,” so you can imagine how I feel if indeed I did hurt this classmate. I feel like I should reach out to this person and make things right. However, I discussed this with a current friend one evening as we walked down memory lane. They suggested that maybe it’s best not to bring this up; perhaps this classmate is doing better and I may bring up some old memories that the person may have forgotten (or would rather forget), and my comments could make things worse. What do you suggest I do and how should I go about it?
Want to Make it Right
DEAR WANT: It is never a mistake, and never too late, to make amends. Don’t avoid this, just because it is challenging. Doing so will further expand your compassion and ease your guilt.
You should reach out to this person, privately, and tell them that you’ve been thinking about them and that you feel sorry and want to apologize for comments that you and others might have made in high school.
Don’t tell yourself that this person has forgotten verbal slights or bullying in childhood and adolescence. These events sear through a person, and even if they have moved on and prospered in adulthood, they won’t have forgotten.
DEAR AMY: I was shocked that you would suggest to “Heartbroken Mom” that her 13-year-old daughter might want to learn to play poker as a way to become independent. I hardly think that gambling is a good idea for a young person.
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Poker is a card game, not a fast track to Vegas.