One of my closest friends from high school – we are now in our 60s – recently married her girlfriend of seven years during COVID. Because we live in different cities, I didn’t really know her new wife. On a recent trip to their city, I stayed with them and found her wife distant and sort of stand-offish. She made no effort to spend time with us or get to know me.
I tried my best to get to know her, but she really wasn’t around long enough (even though she’s retired). My friend also noticed and wondered if she was “trying to give us alone time.” After I left, my friend texted that her wife was “preoccupied and hoped she didn’t seem unfriendly,” which makes me think the subject came up between them.
This has left me with some odd feelings toward her and my friend by proxy. I am not going to say anything to my friend, but I feel sad and also like I have no interest in spending time with them as a couple.
Licking Some Wounds
When it comes to matters of the heart, all reason goes out the window. I have seen staunch feminists basically become 1950s housewives, strong women kowtow to controlling men and wonderful men fall under the spell of domineering, distant women. I can’t explain it because it never fails to surprise me.
I understand your sadness because your relationship with your best friend is changing and it sounds like a big part of her life is not going to be a big part of your life. That is, indeed, a big disappointment. However, all is not lost. Hopefully it won’t be too hard to schedule one-on-one trips for you and your friend, and you can enjoy the time you get alone together.
Mostly though, you will have to practice some radical acceptance, let yourself feel sad and try to lower your expectations that you will all be one happy group. It doesn’t sound like that is going to happen. Losing friends over partners, child-rearing styles, politics, etc., just sucks, no two ways about it. As always, my go-to remedies for a broken heart are a punching bag and some serious dark chocolate. Try it, you’ll like it!
My friends have no photo skills, believe it or not, and I always end up taking pics of friends when we’re out. I take pictures from many angles so they find one they like.
When they take some of me, they suck. Often I’m not in the pics at all because I’m always taking them and I don’t want to be that person with the selfie stick. How can I get out from behind the lens?
I’m Not Annie Leibowitz
Dear Not Annie,
You have no control over your friends’ photography skills, but you do have agency over your reaction to those friends. It involves speaking up! Next time they ask you to take a picture, do so if you’d like, and then hand the camera to one of them and say, “Your turn! I’m ready for my close up now!” or just simply, “One more time, with feeling!”
If that doesn’t do it (which I can’t really imagine), try this: “Always the photographer, never the subject, I relinquish my title!” I could come up with lines all day but I think you get the gist. They won’t know how you feel unless you tell them. Once you do, you have to do you – don’t let them do you for you.
One of my colleagues, who I like very much, wears so much cologne that you can smell him 50 yards away. Slight exaggeration, but only slight. I actually enjoy the smell of what he wears, but not when he takes a bath in it. Worse though is that after a friendly hug, I smell like him all day. It gets on my skin, clothes and hair or anything else that comes into contact with his perfumed force field. Avoiding him seems rude but saying hi ruins my day!
Dear Olfactory Overload,
If there is one silver lining about COVID-19, it is that you can enlist the fist bump with no guilt. Then wash your hands. If you don’t even want to touch a square inch of this person, just blow a kiss from an arm’s length away and say “Hi Zeke! I’m still COVID cautious. Great to see you! How’s Bootsy?” Then, you should be able to spend the rest of the day without smelling like you just made a commercial for Aqua Velva.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.