Q: My good friend is asking people to “sponsor” her international travel for the next few months. Is she doing charity work? No. Is she part of some organization? No. She is doing it to “grow and explore” and even has a website set up for donations about it. I have chosen not to donate, but she keeps bringing it up. Do I say anything to her?
A: That depends on whether you want to be cursed at in a text message from Ibiza.
Seriously, you have to decide what you’re after. Are you looking for a polite way to get her to stop asking for donations? Or a full-on conversation about how egregious you feel it is? You’ve got a ladder of different levels of engagement to choose from, from “I’m sorry that I can’t contribute financially to your trip, but I’ll be cheering you on!” to “I’m really bothered by the way you’ve gone about funding this. What was your thought process?” How likely are you to change her mind? What would you get out of sharing your feelings? The only right thing to say here is what aligns best with the outcome you’re hoping for.
Q: I’ve been married for 25 years, but I’ve never been happy. My husband is lazy and doesn’t appreciate anything I do for our six kids. Any conflict, he’ll blame on me and my temper. He finds means to get physically intimate with me even if I tell him I’m not interested. I want to leave this marriage. Any advice?
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A: What you’re describing is serious, and possibly includes abuse and sexual assault. Counseling is the best way I can foresee you being able to have support as you sort out your feelings and decide on a plan of action to make things better in your life. If your marriage has been unhappy for 2-1/2 decades, then the amount of disappointment and hurt that you’ve been keeping inside you is something you deserve to have help with, but that help isn’t going to be a set of magic words said once and then finished. You could very well have some depressive symptoms, which could be reacting with your marital problems in a cyclical way. This is your health here. I urge you to do something that will benefit not only yourself, but your kids, for the rest of your lives.
Andrea Bonior is a psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix.” www.drandreabonior.com