DEAR ABBY: I’m married to the most patient, loving and wonderful husband in the world. Recently, I had a falling-out with his friend group. I admit I was not a good friend because of mental illness, and I know I may never earn their forgiveness. I’m taking responsibility for my actions and seeking help. Now I want to move on and forget I ever knew them.
The problem is, my husband still hangs out with them. He defended me when they talked negatively about me, and continues to support me in all my struggles, but they’re still buddy-buddy as if nothing ever happened. I can’t help but think how awkward it is that he hangs out with a bunch of people who hate me.
The last thing I want is to break up a friendship, and I know it’s petty to be angry that my husband still hangs with them, but it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. How can I learn to let go knowing they will be a constant presence in my life and a reminder of how horrible I was? — KEEPING DISTANCE
DEAR KEEPING: You have a mental illness and you acted out. Your illness caused it, and it does not make you a bad person.
You cannot wave a magic wand and expect this to go away. You have already taken an important first step by admitting to yourself that you have a mental illness. If you are now in treatment, you have also taken the second step. When you are strong enough, apologize to his friend group for any pain, embarrassment or disruption you caused during an “episode” and assure them you are working to get better.
You should not expect your husband to drop his friends because you messed up. They probably WILL be present in your lives for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean you will always be at odds.
DEAR ABBY: We moved into a beautiful new house a few months ago, and we’re having an issue with a neighbor whose dog barks all night. This has been going on since the first night. I have tried to ignore it. I wear earplugs or put a pillow over my head, but nothing helps, and it’s starting to affect my mood because I’m not getting enough sleep.
I’m receiving mixed advice from family about whether I should talk to the neighbor in person or anonymously submit a complaint with the city. I would go in person, but I’m somewhat shy, and I’m not sure how to start a conversation like that with someone I’ve never met. Any advice on this would be so helpful. — SLEEP-DEPRIVED IN ARIZONA
DEAR SLEEP-DEPRIVED: It would be interesting to know WHY your neighbor’s dog barks all night. Is it neglected, hungry or thirsty, tied up outside and wanting to come in? Because you are shy, write your neighbors a polite letter explaining that their dog’s barking is preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep and ask if they can do something to help you out. Give them a chance to rectify the problem. However, if the animal is being ignored and mistreated, contact the animal control department in your city and report it.
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.
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