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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

If rationalizing doesn’t work, lie to yourself

Carolyn Hax The Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: Recently, my best friend told me something his wife said about me that I found (and still find) to be quite hurtful. He regrets telling me, I regret knowing, but it hurts. I’m having difficulty getting beyond what was said, and it’s not as if I can confront her about it because my friend shouldn’t have told me. How do I get over this? – Anywhere

Two ways. One, put yourself in the wife’s shoes. (Not literally – you’ll stretch them.) Surely you’ve said things about people – people you genuinely like – that you wouldn’t want them to hear, especially out of context.

You know, rationalize it. And if that doesn’t work, lie to yourself outright.

And if that doesn’t make you feel better, wait. You’re close to this couple, so other experiences and feelings will dilute your anger, if you let them. You may never feel warmly toward the wife again, but when “recently” fades into “a while back” and finally “Wha, remember that’s my bad ear,” the pain from her words will fade, too.

Dear Carolyn: My girlfriend, “Amy,” is extremely paranoid, and more than once she has accused me of sleeping with a female co-worker, “Jane.” Jane has become a close friend, and we enjoy each other’s company. I have done everything I can think of to show Amy I am true: I don’t talk with Jane outside work, I don’t go into work when she’s there (unless I have to), and I have removed Jane’s phone number from my cell phone. I have even started looking for another job, just so I am not around Jane!

I thought this fixed the problem, but during a disagreement on a completely separate subject, Amy brings up Jane again. This makes me believe Amy will be happy only if I stop being friends with Jane. However, I refuse to do this because I believe it sets a precedent where she can demand I give up a great job, or time with my family, or whatever.

I just don’t know what to do, and her behavior is making me think I shouldn’t be with her. I have asked numerous people (family and friends) for advice. Sadly, it was unanimous: Dump her. I think they don’t like her, so I thought I would ask you. – Going Nuts

If you stop being friends with Jane, Amy will be jealous of Sally.

If you restructure your life to avoid in-person encounters with any women besides Amy, Amy will furtively check your cell records.

If you and Amy are the lone inhabitants of a desert isle and she witnesses you throwing your cell phone into the sea, Amy will accuse you of:

(A) Having a second phone hidden somewhere.

(B) Slipping the phone into your loincloth and secretly substituting a cell-shaped rock.

(C) Cruising mermaids.

(D) All of the above.

If you chose A, B, C or D, you’re missing the point: Amy’s problem isn’t Jane; it’s Amy.

And your problem isn’t Amy; it’s you – for remaining with someone either too insecure to trust you (if her suspicions are unfounded), or too weak to dump you (if her suspicions are well founded). And for shopping around endlessly for the opinion you want to hear instead of dumping her and going for Jane.