Dear Amy: My husband and I were put in the middle of a situation I don’t want to be in. My cousin and I grew up like sisters. Now she and her husband (who is friends with my husband) are on the verge of divorce. My cousin told me her version of her situation, and her husband told us his version. I believe her husband’s version of events more.
My cousin is the family favorite, and our family sees her as perfect. We’ve had our share of arguments, and the way we have fought in the past has a lot to do with why I tend to believe her husband.
I’m worried that when this all comes out my family is going to hate me because I believe her husband. I love my cousin; I just don’t agree with some of her decisions. How do I stand up for what I believe is right and not lose the few family members I have left?
Amy says: You are not actually stuck in the middle. You should navigate this by understanding that your cousin’s marriage simply has nothing to do with you. It shouldn’t matter what version of events you choose to believe. This is not your moral battle to wage.
You should expect your family members to sympathize and perhaps side with your cousin. This falls into the age-old category of “blood is thicker than water.” If you want to share your point of view, you should do so directly with your cousin. You can believe whatever you want to believe, but there is no reason for you to gossip about what is happening with someone else’s marriage.
Never too late to apologize
Dear Amy: I am an adult in my 30s. I’ve recently been thinking about a high school classmate. This person had a condition that I would describe as a “nervous tic.” A memory keeps coming up where I feel I may have mocked this person once. I am struggling with a similar “tic,” so you can imagine how I feel if indeed I did hurt this classmate.
I feel like I should reach out to this person and make things right. However, I discussed this with a friend, who suggested maybe it’s best not to bring this up; perhaps this classmate is doing better and I may bring up some old memories that the person may have forgotten, and my comments could make things worse.
Amy says: It is never a mistake to make amends. Don’t avoid this, just because it is challenging. Doing so will further expand your compassion and ease your guilt. You should reach out to this person and tell them that you’ve been thinking about them and that you want to apologize for comments that you and others might have made in high school.
Don’t tell yourself that this person has forgotten verbal slights or bullying in childhood and adolescence. These events sear through a person, and even if they have moved on and prospered in adulthood, they won’t have forgotten.
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