Dear Amy: I lived in a place with my two best friends as roommates.
We were the Three Musketeers. Then my two roommates started getting together.
Once they started doing their thing, I felt like they completely dropped me, and suddenly, I was living in a house where I almost felt like a stranger.
They eventually moved out. They don’t seem to understand why I’m upset about my two best friends completely disregarding me.
They had each other, and I was alone.
I still care about them, but I can’t get them to understand why I felt so hurt.
We’re on very uneven terms right now.
– Missing My Homies
Dear Missing: If two points of a relationship triangle form an alliance, the other point is left hanging, isolated on the isosceles.
Unfortunately, many times even a beautiful and close friendship triangle is no match for the pull of attraction and exclusivity when two people couple-up and form their own little bubble.
If two of the original Three Musketeers hooked up, I assure you that their battles would look more like the Three Stooges than the swashbuckling adventures of the Dumas story. (And yes, there were actually four Musketeers, but that is another story for another day.)
You’ve already explained how hurt you’ve been. You feel abandoned by two people you were very close to.
It might help you to move forward if you zero in on exactly what you want from them. Would an acknowledgment and an apology help you to heal from this? If so, ask them to grant you these things. Prepare for the possibility that they will not give you what you want. And at some point, you’re going to have to consider forgiving them to see if you can form your own new friendship geometry.
Dear Amy: My siblings and I would like advice.
Our parents will be celebrating their 40th anniversary, and have asked if all the children, their spouses and the grandkids would be able to plan to go on a family vacation together to celebrate the occasion and spend time with one another.
We are now starting to plan the vacation, and my sister-in-law “Susan” is acting extremely rude to my parents about it.
Susan is insisting and demanding to my father’s face and in the presence of other family members that the only way she and her family will attend is if my dad pays for it, as this is what “everyone does” in a similar situation.
My parents both work. They are unable to retire because they are supporting my grandmother.
Susan does not seem interested in decorum, as we have all been treated very poorly in the past.
We are accustomed to this behavior and have tried to focus on the grandkids/nieces/nephews to deal with her entitlement, rudeness, and purposeful exclusion in favor of her family.
All of my parents’ children are doing very well, and my siblings and I are grateful for all our folks have done for us.
We are used to Susan’s behavior, but these comments are hurtful and frustrating, and have hurt my parents’ feelings.
My perspective is that if they don’t want to come, fine!
What would be appropriate to say if she makes this demand again?
She has now done this two times in front of everyone.
My brother is silent, which summarizes the last 10 years.
Dear Bewildered: I suggest that you reach out to “Susan” privately (email might be best), saying something like: “You’ve brought up our folks’ 40th anniversary vacation a couple of times now so I thought it would be good to clarify how the plans are starting to shape up. We siblings are going to plan and give this family vacation to our folks as an anniversary gift. It’s well-deserved for two hard-working people who are celebrating this milestone anniversary. It would be nice if you could join us, but your family would be expected to pay your portion, so that will be up to you. I hope this clears up any confusion.”
Your neutral and polite message might anger her, but – so be it.
Dear Amy: “Potential Bank Mom” asked you if it was OK to financially help one daughter who was struggling but not give equally to the more prosperous daughter.
As long as this mom doesn’t see how her bailouts are basically keeping her struggling daughter from making better choices, I agree with your answer that this is a “life isn’t always fair” lesson.
– Been There
Dear Been There: Exactly.