Dear Mark, Is it my place to give my friend a heads up that his girlfriend of five years has cheated on him numerous times? Normally, I would do it to help the guy out. Only problemshes my best friend. Do I owe him this, even though I could risk losing one of my best friends?
Do you know Anberlin? It is an alt-rock band that mitigates its snottiness with soaring pop hooks. You know, like Fall Out Boy with a side of Daughtry. Or Paramore, except with a male lead singer.
Anyway, its new album New Surrender is really good, and its got this song called Blame Me! Blame Me! that relates to your question. The second verse is especially apropos, when Stephen Christian sings,
And we could stare all day At problems that wont go away Silence is pounding, silence is pounding Youre wearing me down
Hes talking about his girlfriend, but youre in the same situation: Since you know your best friend is cheating on her boyfriend, youre trapped in this awful silence. Youve realized that staying quiet will have serious consequences.
But Im talking about the consequences for you. If you hold on to a secret like this, its going to wear you down, as the song says. If you dont speak up, you could feel increasingly uncomfortable around your friend and her boyfriend and that could make you resent both of them.
However, its not your place to insert yourself into their relationship. You cant really know what its like between them, and you cant presume to know whats best. All you can do is take responsibility for yourself.
So talk to your best friend. Tell her how her actions are affecting you. Since you know about her indiscretions, her affair is causing you stress, and its forcing you to quietly lie to her boyfriend every time you see him. Since you guys are close, shell probably understand why that sucks.
After that, its her move. Maybe shell realize she needs to talk to her boyfriend. Maybe she wont. Either way, try to respect her independence without ignoring whats right for you. If that means backing away from her for a while, then so be it. Keeping yourself in a toxic situation isnt going to help anyone.
Dear Mark, I am planning my wedding and have been fighting with my mother constantly about detailsfrom the guest list to the flowers. How can I make her understand that its my wedding too?
Boy, I can relate. I havent gotten married (New York wont let me), but I have wrestled with my mom over her place in my life. When I went to grad school, there was this whole blowout about whether or not Id be hanging a novelty license plate in my bedroom. Ill tell you all about it if you buy me a margarita (frozen, no salt).
For moral support, check out the Lucinda Williams song Side of the Road. Addressing a boyfriend, she sings, You wait in the car by the side of the road... I wanna know youre there, but I wanna be alone. In other words, she wants to keep a person in her life, but she wants that person to trust her. She can take 10 steps away and not be gone forever.
Just like my mom, I bet your mother is sad to see you changing. No matter how much she loves your future husband, no matter how proud of you she is, shes also losing her child to the world of adulthood. A marriage is our cultures surest symbol that kid has grown up.
Try to be sympathetic, but dont let her run the show. Youre right that your wedding is ultimately about you and your husband, and you deserve to celebrate it however you like. To compromise, try drawing some distinct boundaries. Sit down with your mom, tell her how much you want her to be part of the ceremony, and then tell her she can be in charge of one or two things. Ask her what shed like to oversee and then explain how important it is that she let you handle everything else. That way, shell know youre making space for her, but shell also know where that space ends.
Dear Mark, Im thinking of moving to Brooklyn. I have been a Manhattanite for years, but I know Id get more space for my dollar in the other borough. Its such a hard move to make it over a bridge to see my friends. How can I overcome this stigma? Signed, Feeling Desperate in the Financial District
Hey Desperate, First of all, thanks for signing your question with an alias. I love that!
But on to serious business: Times are tough, rents are high and Manhattan apartments get smaller by the second. Moving to Brooklyn makes a lot of sense. So dont be afraid of the borough. Ive lived in Park Slope for over three years, and Ive loved every second of it.
And you know who comes from Brooklyn? Jay-Z. And Pat Benatar. And Neil Diamond. Were a cultural hotbed!
Granted, your social life will change, but youll be fine. Just last weekend, I had a party at my apartment, and there were people there from the Upper West Side. And youll still go to Manhattan. Compromises can be made.
Once youve made the move, I think youll appreciate the slightly more relaxed, slightly more spacious reality of Brooklyn life. You might be on the subway moreand God help us all on the weekendsbut youll gain a new peace of mind. And possibly, a new appreciation for Neil Diamond.