Affection and absence

Joey Garcia

My husband was under pressure at work and didn’t want to take a family vacation this summer. The kids and I went without him. On vacation, I ran into a high school acquaintance. My kids liked him right away—unusual for them. He joined us for a lunch, a dinner and a day at the beach—all aboveboard. But I find myself fantasizing about him. He has texted me several times but I have not responded. I am afraid that I might cross the line. Should tell my husband about this?

Yes, if you crave increased emotional intimacy in your marriage. But the first honest conversation to have is with yourself. Your husband’s commitment to his career clearly rankles you. It’s easy to translate his choice to forgo vacation as evidence he cares more for work than family. Our minds often default to that kind of comparathon when fueled by insecurities. But with effort, a healthy thinking pattern is possible. Yes, that means you are not the victim and your husband is not a villain. Don’t try to punish him with a story of how he might lose you just because he opted out of the family holiday.

Here’s the story you do want to tell: You missed him. On vacation, you ran into an acquaintance and had a lovely visit, but you would have preferred having your husband’s companionship. Schedule a child-free weekend getaway for you and your man. You need time to reconnect with why you love one another.

Oh, and about those fantasies—completely normal. Our minds are creative and endlessly seek opportunities to spin stories about ourselves and the world. The trick is to be conscious enough to determine which stories are meant to be lived into and which stories would birth hell on earth.

I’m in high school and one of my friends set me up on a prom date with her cousin who goes to a different school. He was creepy at dinner, so at the dance I ditched him. He told my friend that he likes me a lot. I don’t like him at all. My friend talks about her cousin constantly now, trying to convince me to like him but I don’t. He keeps texting me wanting to hang out. I’m afraid if I tell him to leave me alone, my friend will be mad. What should I do?

Realize that you are more freaked out about upsetting your friend than you are about being true to your heart. That means you’re teaching yourself to bury your instinct for self-care (“he was creepy”). You’re focused instead on pleasing your friend. My advice? Stop. When your friend gives her cousin props, listen to what you feel inside. Remind yourself that you’re not required to date this guy just because he wants to date you. If your friend asks why you aren’t interested in her cousin, be honest: “I’m not feeling it.” If she gets mad, don’t take it personally. She has the right to her emotions. She just doesn’t have the right to take her feelings out on you. So, if she ends the friendship, accept it. After all, a real friend doesn’t insist you date whomever she says you should date, right?

Meditation of the week
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, in spite of ourselves,” wrote Victor Hugo. What keeps you warm? Subscribe to Joey’s new blog at for more.

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