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Unloading a burden on your best friend
First Published Mar 01 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 01 2014 05:38 pm

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On confessing an attraction outside the marriage • Early in my marriage, I was attracted to someone not my husband. I grappled with whether to fess up to him, and ultimately came to the conclusion that it was vital to our marriage that I could unload my burden on my best friend, to help uncork the guilt and distress that I was keeping inside. I knew that if I didn’t share this "armchair affair," then the attraction would likely become that much more powerful, since secrets and fantasies are inherently powerful. So I told my best friend, my husband, and he handled it beautifully. He neither took it too personally nor panicked, but proved a worthy sounding board. He took it as a good sign that I wanted to unload, and by the end of our discussion, I was already feeling lighter, more free, and, um, more than a bit sheepish. It was humiliating to admit my deepest darkest feelings, and his steadfast understanding was exactly what I needed to see the fantasy for what it was — a cry for more intimacy in our own marriage. The whole incident ultimately fortified our marital trust, rather than destroyed it.

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On resenting siblings who recieved better treatment from your parents • My siblings are 18-21 years younger than I am, and for most of my childhood, my mom was pretty neglectful of me. My siblings are all teenagers now. They don’t have to work and buy their own clothes, they get to play instruments and be in sports, their parents go to all their games, they live in a nice house. Anytime someone asks if I’m jealous, I say, "Of course not!" And explain how I realized, when jealousy first started to creep in — following that train of logic — that for me not to be jealous would mean they were neglected as badly as I was. BAM. Jealousy gone. I love them so much and could never wish that on anyone. I’m so grateful my mom grew up and got her (act) together. I’m so happy my stepfather learned, on me, how not to treat people and learned how to be a good dad to them.

Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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