Dear Amy: My best friend of 25 years is having an affair.
I’m devastated. We raised our kids together, our families spent holidays and vacations together, but most of all she has been my soul sister and confidant.
I have tried to be the best support since this began, listening and trying to be non-judgmental.
The problem is that my dad cheated on my mom. The day I found out was the worst day of my life. I spent years angry, developed a severe eating disorder, and needed years of therapy.
I feel like I’m waiting for a car crash. I love her children like my own and don’t want them to go through that trauma.
What’s my job as a best friend? Must I show my support, no matter what?
I have lost respect and feel like it’s changed everything. Am I being judgmental and not a true friend?
I want this friendship to weather this storm, but need advice on this “besties” role. – Friend in Anguish
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Dear Friend: Friends tell each other the truth, and a deep and abiding friendship can withstand the tumult that honesty sometimes brings on.
It is possible, and preferable, to deliver your radical honesty without attaching judgment to it.
You do this by using “I statements,” and by owning your personal distress about this.
For example: “I’m upset about this. I’m worried about your family’s future. My father’s infidelity destroyed me as a child, and this is bringing up a lot of painful memories for me.”
I also think it’s totally OK to convey to your friend, “I’m unsure of my role, here. I don’t feel comfortable being your confidant about this affair. I want you to know that our friendship is important to me, and I don’t want to lose it.”
It would be natural for you to step back a bit as she goes through this whirlwind.
Understand that people do make mistakes. People hurt one another.
Mistakes can be forgiven. Hurts can be healed.
But once you really lose respect for a person, it’s game over.
Dear Amy: My daughter said that she got the wedding of her dreams.
Family and friends came from far and wide to celebrate her nuptials.
It was lovely in every respect, and both her mother and I were thrilled that things went as she wanted.
However, she was so caught up as the center of attention that she ignored the common tradition of greeting each table and saying a few words to their guests.
Even after I asked her to speak to the guests, she ignored my brother and sister and their families entirely.
He let me know the next day how hurt they were.
Her mother and I were crushed and had no idea that she had neglected them in this way.
Of course, I will strongly recommend making amends to these relatives.
I feel I failed as a parent and failed my daughter by not being aware of this fault at that time.
I thought that we had raised her better. She’s 34 now.
What would you suggest I add to our conversation? – Deflated Post Wedding
Dear Deflated: Rather than add to your conversation with your daughter, I suggest that you take away something: Your own sense of embarrassment, shame, and any responsibility you might be tempted to assume for her rudeness.
You prompted her at her reception to do the right thing. She ignored your prompt.
Yes, she is an adult. This behavior – whether it was an oversight or deliberate – is her responsibility.
Not only is greeting one’s wedding guests basic wedding etiquette – it is also simply a “nice” thing to do, and for many people would be instinctual.
You and your wife should tell her, “Your aunt and uncle let us know that they were so disappointed that you didn’t take the time to greet them at the wedding. This would have taken you two minutes, and it would have made them feel appreciated. We hope you will choose to make things right, by apologizing to them.”
Dear Amy: “Good Auntie” should continue the use of the pronoun “she” and “her” instead of they/them for her young niece. She should use the child’s birth name if she is more comfortable with that.
The parents and child are asking Auntie to be tolerant. Auntie has the same right to ask that they be tolerant of her use of name/pronoun. – A Grandmother
Dear Grandmother: A truly “Good Auntie” would recognize how deliberately hurtful this choice would be.
You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.