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Ask Lisi: Pandemic no longer an excuse for avoiding friends

COVID-19 did have a lasting effecton behaviour. Try inviting out friend to talk
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Advice columnist Lisi Tesher

Dear Lisi: Ever since the pandemic, my best friend has pulled away. Her girlfriend is very shy and introverted, and a complete germaphobe. COVID-19 totally freaked her out. She didn’t leave the house for days, not even for a walk around the block. My friend tried everything she could, and they fought a ton, but they really love each other and figured out how to make it work.

But our friendship has suffered deeply. For two years she basically couldn’t see me, not even for a distant outdoor coffee get-together. At first, I was furious at her girlfriend, blaming her for her controlling nature and insecurities. We never really got along that well.

But the pandemic is long over from taking hold on our lives. We can’t use it as an excuse anymore. So why has my friend basically ditched me?

Dumped

Your thoughts make sense, but while we can’t blame the pandemic anymore, it did have a lasting effect on many people and the way we live our lives. Look at how many people stayed working from home; or how much more people entertain at home rather than going out to eat, or to a bar.

And, though you didn’t mention your age, everyone is now a few years older than when the pandemic started. And with age, often comes a quieter lifestyle.

I suggest inviting your bestie out — for an afternoon walk, or dinner on a night when her girlfriend is otherwise engaged — and talk it through. Your friendship may have run its course, or she may just need some prodding from you. It really depends how much the relationship means to you, and how much effort you want to put in.

Dear Lisi: My wife and I have enjoyed a long successful marriage with children and grandchildren. Except for one issue, we continue to enjoy our marriage and time together, both retired. My wife enjoys social media; however, she comments on posts and sends messages to a couple of single males on Facebook. Some of her comments and responses, which are visible on Facebook, use language and symbols which are flirty in nature. This has happened once before and when I explained that I found it hurtful, she said that it wouldn’t happen again.

When I asked her about the most recent example, she explained that she means nothing by it and couldn’t understand how that might be hurtful to me. She says it is just her way, and that she is affectionate in nature.

She feels that I am overreacting but says that she will stop with the emoji symbols. I believe she has some need for attention that I do not understand.

What is your advice and how common are you seeing this in social media?

Hurt husband

If we strip your question down to the bare bones, the location and manner of your wife’s flirting is irrelevant. The point is, she’s flirting and it upsets you. You have every right to feel as you do. You’ve asked her to stop, she did, but it happened again. You asked her to stop again, and she’s said she would.

But, in your opinion, it’s enough. Fair. It’s time to talk to her, and perhaps together, talk to a professional. Not to discover what’s wrong with her, but to see how together, you can figure out what’s lacking in her life, how to better fulfill each other, and continue having a long and successful marriage.

Be prepared that you may discover that the emojis she’s using don’t weigh as much as you may think. For example, a kissy face emoji may just be a sign of immense gratitude. The interpretation is really sender-receiver specific.

Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca or lisi@thestar.ca