When Friends Stop Talking

SCENARIO

You and two other women have had a friendship trio for years. All of a sudden you stop hearing from friend #1. You know that she’s been talking to friend #2 and they’ve still been getting together. You tried asking Friend #1 if there’s anything wrong, however, you get no reply. As you don’t know what happened you find the situation invading your thoughts all the time and you’re getting obsessed with it. What do you do?

ANSWER

JILL:
It is never easy when friendships change and people move on. It does indeed leave us hurt and confused.

To help you stop obsessing here are a few suggestions:

1. Move on yourself. Arrange to do some new activities; classes, women’s groups, exercise programs anything to help you feel vital, active and a part of something.

2. Ask the two ladies to have coffee with you. If they do meet with you, be open & honest about how you feel. Avoid words that are accusing or may result in hurt feelings.

It is human nature that a part of you will hope that a coffee meeting will mean that things will go back to the way they were. Be prepared that may not happen; the friend that has had no contact may indeed prefer to spend time with different friends. Try not to take it personally & leave the coffee meeting on good terms.

Try to realize that all the hurt, anger and obsession (your words) gives those people too much power over you. There are other women out there with whom you can form new friendships.

VICKI:
Right now you’re obsessing over the situation because you don’t have a logical answer for it. This is a natural thing for the mind to do as it is trying to make sense of the situation. In order to stop obsessing you either need to accept the situation as it is, in this case following Jill’s suggestions in #1 or work at getting an answer, which Jill wrote about in #2.

If you feel that asking the ladies for coffee won’t work for you I suggest writing a letter to the woman who is no longer talking to you. If you choose to do this than make sure that you write in terms of how you feel and not about the other person’s actions, which will translate to blame statements. Write from the heart. Put the letter away for a few days and then re-read the letter again before sending it.

Please know that you have no blame in this friendship ending. Even if you did do something to offend this woman it is her job to let you know what is on her mind. If she doesn’t take any steps to mend her feelings and the friendship then you cannot take responsibility.

On that note do mention to the friend who tells you of her outings with the woman no longer speaking to you how hearing about the outings makes you feel. This way you are taking responsibility to make sure that you are not building anger and resentment towards her in order for that friendship to continue.


Guest List Wedding Pains

SCENARIO

Your son or daughter has gotten engaged and you adore their choice in a future spouse. As you’ve always been invited to your friend’s children’s weddings, you’ve jumped the gun and told your closest friends to put aside that date. Then your son or daughter informs you that there is not enough room for you to invite your friends to the wedding. What do you do now?

CONSIDER THIS:

JILL:
One of the great things about being a little older is we are able to have the hindsight to be a wiser. So I am going to have you use your imagination for a minute and pretend it’s your son getting married.

It is May 2009 and you have sat down with a cup of tea to look at some photo albums from your son’s wedding. You come to the picture of you and your son. The two of you are standing side by side, he looks so handsome but he is a bit stiff and his smile is forced. You look a little tense but if you think back you feel that you were right, you told them everything that was bothering you and they let you invite your friends. Your son was caught in the middle, between his love for you and wanting to please his bride. It was a difficult time but they re-arranged things and you made your point.

Or………….

You come to the picture of your son and you. You are beaming and he has a happy grin on his face and his arm is lovingly around your shoulders. It had worked out alright in the long run; you had met quietly with the two of them. You didn’t make them feel guilty but instead asked if you could invite two friends to share the event with you. A month later you had invited your other friends over for wine and appetizers and bored them silly with the videos from the wedding; it had been a fun evening.

VICKI:
I have to admit that I am of two minds on this. I do believe that a parent being asked for their list would be the right thing to do, if it is affordable, However, I am aware that that is my idea of what’s right and no one else is obligated to live up to what I feel is right or wrong. On the other hand I also believe that it’s a mistake making an assumption and approaching friends as though they were invited. I’ve been in a different but similar situation and I was thoroughly embarrassed when I had to let my friends know that I erred.

This is a time to let right and wrong go. This is meant to a happy and joyous time. Don’t allow any idea of “shoulds” to ruin this. After all the groom or bride-to-be may be doing nothing more than carrying out her parent’s wishes or doing this the way they are traditionally done in his or her family. One thing is sure – that they are not doing anything with the intention of being hurtful.

In this situation sit down with your child and their fiancé and let them know how much your friends mean to you and that you would be very happy to pay them. Even if there will only be enough seating for two accept that and follow Jill’s advice in having your close friends over to your home for an evening. As the time draws nearer you may discover that there are enough people declining that there is room for all of your friends.

Why People Have An Affair

SCENARIO

Many women either suspect or discover that their partner is having an affair. What a lot of women then ask themselves is “what am I doing wrong?”

Do people cheat because of their partners? Can what you say or do cause your partner to stray?

CONSIDER THIS

VICKI:
People have affairs because of their own thoughts and belief systems. While it’s easy to blame a partner it has nothing to do with them.

Sex means many things to many people. For some it’s a physical need and for others it can be about self-worth or manhood/womanhood, etc. There are so many reason why people cheat on their partners that they couldn’t all be covered here. What so many people don’t understand is that the reasons are generally mental and/or emotional needs that are not being met. Many of the unmet needs having nothing to do with sex at all.

If someone has unmet needs it’s their responsibility to discover what they do need, whether through counseling or inner reflection, and discuss it with their significant other. No adult is responsible for another adult’s emotional well-being.

With that being said I want to add in that anyone who has a partner who is withholding sex will most certainly stray. Especially men as their sperm can only build to such an amount then there is a physical need to expel it. We all need human touch and masturbation can only cut it for a certain amount of time.

JILL:
It should first be said that not all female partners do blame themselves. However, the ones that do may do so for two reasons.
Their self-blame may come from low self-esteem. We are inundated with all forms of media that tell us that to the thin and beautiful comes the perfect life complete with a perfect marriage. Reality shows feature men dropping to their knees to ask the newly transformed woman to marry him, the subtle message being that he would not have proposed to her as she looked before.

Secondly many women instantly want to fix a problem, to make it all better. They don’t take time to analyze what has transpired and more importantly to see where the other person is responsible for their actions. If that person was looking for a change in his life or if something triggered feelings of unhappiness he should have done the right thing and talk to his partner.

All this doesn’t mean that there should not be a time of quiet reflection for the woman. An honest evaluation of what has transpired will bring with it positive self-growth and recharged self-esteem.

Two Religions, One Wedding Ceremony

SCENARIO

We received this as a question from a young bride-to-be. She and her fiancé are from two different religious backgrounds. Neither of their families want a blended religious ceremony, yet this young couple is paying for their own wedding and cannot afford two ceremonies. They would like to make this a happy occasion for both their families and wonder how they can do it.

What would you do in this situation? We’d love to hear your comments.

CONSIDER THIS

JILL:
Perhaps the parents are worried that a blended ceremony will disrespect the meaning and traditions of their faiths. Possibly by outlining for them how the two religions would be represented, this could change their minds. In today’s world interfaith ceremonies are done in a very respectful and tasteful manner. Do some research and speak to planner who specializes in these types of marriages. With the details on paper the bride, groom and both sets of parents should come together to discuss this style of ceremony.

If that doesn’t work look at having a civil, non-denominational or spiritual marriage. No one can afford two ceremonies and one of those choices may be the only way to keep both families happy. Write your own vows. Keep everything simple but meaningful. Taking religion out of a service no longer means that the event has to be cold or impersonal. Another option is a destination wedding and not necessarily to another country. It could be held in another state or province or a pretty little town that is only a few hours away. Afterwards the reception could be a blend of both family’s traditions and backgrounds.

It is important to remember that the very essence of a marriage is the joining of two people who love one another. If however the couple is feeling somewhat incomplete they can meet with religious person who has guided them each through the years and ask for their blessing on the union.

VICKI:
My first thought is what does the couple wish to do? I certainly understand that family pressure can be a huge issue and that we all wish to please the ones we love. However there comes a time where, no matter how challenging, everyone needs to put their family’s values behind them and live by their own value system.

If the couple wish to make the situation work all around then…in order to make this economical the only suggestion I have is to have the ceremony take place in a hall, etc. and literally have one religious ceremony after the other; without an official pronouncing this couple married until after the second ceremony.

Real Love and Reality

SCENARIO

Do you feel loved by your partner? It’s a common issue for many couples. In the beginning of a relationship it was exciting and passionate, with time reality hits and love becomes secondary to daily demands. Does it have to be this way?

CONSIDER THIS

JILL:
While the excitement and passion may settle down with time, the loving of one another shouldn’t become secondary. If you have to put each other on your schedule – every month should include at least one date night and maybe a lunch date too.

One of the most exciting things in a new relationship is the spontaneity so try to revive that. An unexpected phone call in the day, a note slipped into their pocket. It is however the physical aspect; the touching that provides the warmth and glow for a couple. A hug, kiss or squeeze of a hand take a few seconds but the affect is long lasting for the recipient.

Don’t try to revive what has been but start today to sustain a loving relationship that will have you growing old together.

VICKI:
It most definitely doesn’t have to be that way. Love is a choice, which each and every day you and your partner can choose to do and say the things that make your partner feel loved. This is like re-committing to each other daily.

It’s not always an easy choice to make. It only works on one condition – that both of you have to know what makes you, individually, feel loved and be willing to discuss it with your partner.

There is a great book that discusses it called “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It discusses the five main languages of love: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. In reading this you will learn your main love language and help identifying your partner’s. It’s not only a quick read it’s also really enjoyable.

Daily Spirituality

SCENARIO

Is your daily routine so fast paced that you get caught up in doing and lose the art of being? It can feel like you’re losing your connection with your spirituality or forgetting who you really are heart and soul. At times you may even catch yourself, especially at work, going against your personal values in order to do what you believe is best for your work.

CONSIDER THIS

VICKI:
It’s so easy to get lost in the everyday, especially at work. The most important thing we can do is to let our personal values, spiritual or otherwise, lead the way in our work life as well. It’s the difference between doing and being; most of us grew up being taught to do rather than be.

Take time during the day to just be; here are a few suggestions:
1. Meditate for two or three minutes. It clears your mind and can help you refocus on a busy day.
2. Say an affirmation hourly if possible. It should be a statement of intention for yourself and your day. You may choose to use the same affirmation hourly or change it to go with the flow of your day.
3. Keep a reminder of your values in a place where you can see it through your busy day. It may be a book that sits on your desk, a sticky note with a quote on your computer, or the old rubber band around your wrist – anything that has meaning to you.

JILL:
There is no doubt that when Monday morning comes around our busy lives can find us losing touch with ourselves spiritually. On the weekends it is easier to find the time that you need for a spiritual connection.
Be more aware of your weekly schedule and where your time is being spent. Are you doing something that you don’t have to do or don’t want to do? Can you instead use that time for yourself?

If a pocket of time cannot be found you may have to look for it in smaller increments.
Here are a few suggestions to help reframe your day:

1. Utilize unused time; get up earlier in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch or before going to sleep.
2. You can bookmark websites that have daily inspirational messages. I googled ‘daily spirituality’ and some helpful websites came up. Here are two –
New Spirituality Network
Belief net
3. Have a spiritual book, book on tape or meaningful music with you during your day. One of these is perfect while you are waiting for an appointment, on a coffee or lunch break or in a traffic jam.
4. After finishing your work try to take a few minutes to sit quietly.
5. Practice spiritual consciousness in your daily routine. Speak to people that you might not otherwise talk with, see opportunities for small acts of kindness & courtesy and be more aware of your imprint on the world.

Pressure To Have Children

SCENARIO

You and your partner have decided not have children; you’re happy with your life as it is. However Mom, Aunt Sally and your best friend just aren’t listening and are pressuring you to start that family. How do you tell them to mind their own business without hurting their feelings?

CONSIDER THIS

JILL:
Life decisions such as not to have children come from a deep and private place. I want to emphasize ‘private’. You have to make a decision that is right for you and your partner and at the end of the day that is all that matters.

One of the quickest ways to bring this to an end would be to have the family together for dinner. You need to tell them ‘we know that you love us and want the best for us but we have made a decision to not have children. We are asking you to respect this by not pressuring us anymore. Now we want to get on with our lives.” The words will come to you.
While it feels a little overwhelming to do this en masse, having to deal with each person one on one is difficult and besides you want to get on with your lives. For those that didn’t come to the dinner the words that you used there will work with them. Confront these people together where possible, it will help.
For the really persistent use the ultimate words ‘this is really none of your business.” If certain people still don’t get it and respect your choice then they are a negative voice and you have to decide if you really want them in your lives as you move forward.

VICKI:
Believe it or not most people don’t realize that their probing is either uncomfortable or hurtful. It really isn’t their intention to be that way, they may actually believe that they’re helping because if you listen to them they believe you’ll be happier. It can be a big case of misguided love.

Respond by letting them know how their comments honestly make you feel. An example would be: “My husband and I have decided not to have children, please don’t ask me again as it makes feel very uncomfortable and judged.” When they understand they are upsetting you they will be more apt to stop.