Dear Abby: For 50 years, I had a close career and personal friend I’ll call “Ellen.” She has been married a long time, but I know she and her husband have had some rocky patches. Ellen was with me through the tragic loss of my son and, six weeks later, my very ill husband. I couldn’t have gotten through it without her.
After being alone for 17 years, I met a man in the construction trade. He has his own business and is a fine, intelligent, kind, considerate man. He took care of his sick wife, as I took care of my ill husband. He also lost a grandchild. He was married for 51 years; I was married for 28. We are four years apart in age and have a deep, abiding love and understanding for each other.
Abby, immediately upon meeting him, Ellen rejected him and abruptly ended our friendship! She thought, “because of my education,” I should be with a lawyer or doctor. I recently married this wonderful man and let her know. No response. I was deeply hurt by her actions.
It has been six years, and I have other good friends. My husband’s six children are lovely to me. Yet I remain puzzled by what Ellen did. I was so close to her, her family and her other friends. I’m not sure how she has explained my absence. Her home was a second home to me. We saw each other frequently. I regret I couldn’t tell her family and friends this parting was not my choice. I may never understand this situation. Do you have any advice?
Puzzled in Pennsylvania
Dear Puzzled: As much as we might wish the opposite, not all friendships last forever. If you have described Ellen accurately, this dear friend was an elitist who judges people by a far different scale than you do. She may also have been upset that, after so many years of your depending on her, you were finally getting your emotional needs fulfilled elsewhere. I’m not a mind reader, and I have never met the woman, but, PLEASE, don’t waste another minute looking backward. Enjoy the here and now and spend no more time dwelling on something you cannot change.
Dear Abby: When I was leaving work last Friday, I caught two co-workers in a passionate kiss. The elevator doors were just about closed, but I waved my hand and they opened back up. I averted my eyes before they realized I was there and jumped apart. Because I was in shock, I made some nervous small talk and did not acknowledge the elephant in the elevator.
My issue is they are both upper management and married to other people. I have no plans to “out” them, but I’m confused about how to interact with them going forward. I work with them on a daily basis as well as attend company parties, which their spouses usually attend. Any advice would be appreciated as my respect for them has plunged.
Should Have Waited in the South
Dear Should Have: This is a minefield, so tread carefully and do not say a word about what you saw to anyone. Your respect for those two may have diminished, but it is vital — for your own sake — that your behavior toward them remain the same as it has always been. It may take a large dose of amnesia on your part to accomplish this, but it is what I am recommending.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.