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Ask Lisi: You have nothing to lose by confronting snarky woman

Advice: Just ask this mean acquaintance what’s going on; you have nothing to lose. Though be prepared for whatever she spews.
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Lisi Tesher, for Ask Ellie column

Dear Lisi: I’m a successful 40-year-old woman, married, a mother, and I co-own a catering company. My husband and I have plenty of friends, from before we married, our individual sports and amongst the parents of our children’s classmates and peers.

So why is it bothering me that a woman I’ve known since school-age is consistently rude and snarky to me whenever we meet at social events where our friends overlap? I always say a friendly hello and am surprised every time with her slap-in-the-face response.

We were never close friends, never had a falling out, we always just skirted around each other’s friend group. Why would someone go out of their way to be especially hurtful to an acquaintance?

Smacked again

She obviously harbours some ill-will towards you. Have you asked your mutual friends? One of them must have some clue as to what’s bothering her. If you can find out, then you know what you’re dealing with. If you can’t, just forget about it. Why waste your energy and effort?

But if you can’t shake it, gather up the courage to say something the next time you cross paths. Just come right out with it; you have nothing to lose. Though be prepared for whatever she spews.

Dear Lisi: I’m an almost 60-year-old woman, married to the same man I’ve been with since age 19. We have two daughters, aged 23 and 26.

I’ve known since adolescence that I’m gay but chose not to tell anyone, nor have I had any relationships outside of my marriage.

On and off, I’ve struggled with the idea of being true to myself and others about this aspect of my identity. But, for over four decades I’ve kept my secret. It’s been difficult, and now that my children are independent and doing well for themselves, I’ve been working on myself physically, mentally and spiritually for the past year.

A month ago, a colleague invited me out for an after-work drink. We had a very nice time and I decided to come out to her. She is gay and I knew she’d understand. In truth, I have been attracted to her for a couple of years. Coming out to her was the easy part. But I blew it a week later and told her about my attraction. She was shocked. The holidays came and I haven’t seen her since.

I have two dilemmas: Do I tell my husband about my sexual orientation? I want to be true to myself and be able to explore this. I don’t plan to end our marriage, but I want to know if he is open to my explorations.

Do I apologize to my friend because I really did not have to drop this “feelings bomb” like I did? While the attraction is there, I don’t want to lose a friendship over this. While I could slam the closet door shut, I feel like I deserve to be able to be me.

About coming out

You absolutely deserve to be you. Dilemma 1: Yes, I believe you should tell your husband. But be prepared that he may want to end the marriage. He may be very hurt, he may take this as a personal affront to his masculinity, he may be angry and feel you’ve lied to him for decades. Whatever he feels, you must allow for his feelings to have space and validity.

Dilemma 2: Yes, you should talk to your friend. Tell her that you care more about the friendship and can keep your attraction in check. Remind her that you’ve already kept it a secret all the years you’ve been friends. Hopefully she was just shocked and needed time to digest.

I highly suggest you find some information online, or someone you can talk to, who can help you come out to your husband, children, family and friends in a way that gives you strength, and helps them receive the news openly. These sites may be helpful: www.liveabout.com, www.strongfamilyalliance.org, and www.familyequality.org.

FEEDBACK Regarding the little boy with the afternoon tummy ache (Dec. 27):

Reader – “It could be an emotional issue, but it sounds like it’s related to what he is eating.

“The mother should consider food related problems, like celiac disease. If she keeps a record of what he eats at school, she may find out that he is sensitive to gluten or other foods and can have him tested.

“I can relate to the child’s discomfort after eating, as I was diagnosed with celiac disease 60 years ago at age seven.”

Lisi – Interestingly, food and something medical were my first thoughts upon reading the question. But the mother stated clearly that she had seen a doctor, who wasn’t concerned. So, I focused on the emotional and physical maturity of the child.

So many people have written in about lactose intolerance, allergies, and Celiac, that I really hope the mother discussed these possible issues with her doctor.

Note from Ellie Tesher: Today marks the beginning of a new and exciting adventure for me: After nearly 23 years of answering readers’ relationship questions, I’m pivoting to a new weekly column in the Toronto Star.

First, my sincere thanks to all of you for reading my advice column over the past years … and more recently, for reading my daughter Lisi’s popular advice column, which will continue in this space, in the tradition of famous advisers (the late Ann Landers and her sister, Dear Abby) whose daughters also entered the advice field.

Lisi Tesher is an advice columnists based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca or lisi@thestar.ca