Times Standard (Eureka)

Fight causes family rift

- By Harriette Cole Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriet­te@ harriettec­ole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndicatio­n, 1130 Walnut St., Kan

Dear Harriette: My aunt — my mom’s sister — has had issues with my stepdad for quite some time now. Their issues are complex, and I’ve always tried to stay neutral on the situation. I had a long conversati­on with my stepdad the other day about their issues. After the talk, we both decided that it was time for all of us (my mother, my aunt and my stepdad) to sit down and talk about everything together. I didn’t say much; I let my stepdad do most of the talking. The conversati­on went sour, and my aunt ended up storming out of the room and saying that I had betrayed her by talking to my stepdad about the things she had told me in confidence.

My aunt has since blocked me on social media, has demanded I repay her every dime she’s spent on me in the past and no longer speaks to me. I can’t help but feel guilty about blabbing to my stepdad even though my aunt’s reaction was completely misdirecte­d. Am I wrong for talking to my stepdad about her? Am I right to feel guilty?

Dear In the Middle: You are in a mess, as you know. Nobody is in the right here. When you live in the middle of other people’s relationsh­ip drama, it rubs off on you. Yes, you were wrong to break your aunt’s confidence in talking to your stepdad, but, at the same time, it was bound to happen. The adults in this situation — your mother, her husband and your aunt — should have worked out their issues without pulling you into the loop. If only life worked that way.

You should apologize to your aunt for betraying her confidence, but that should be enough. Her extreme requiremen­t that you pay her back for her past support sounds like a vindictive swipe that may pass in time. For now, just sit tight. Hopefully the storm will pass. The only way things will get better, though, is if the adults deal with their issues themselves.

Dear Harriette: My college roommate stole hundreds of dollars from me. His mother ended up returning it to me a few months later, but the damage had been done by the time I got my money back. He recently messaged me on Facebook asking that I publicly apologize for telling everyone that he stole from me since I received the money back. I don’t want to do that. The money back was returned by his mother, not by him. He never should have stolen from me in the first place. He says that he needs me to clear his name because my accusation­s have prevented him from getting jobs. What should I do?

— Still a Thief

Dear Still a Thief: Why would your old roommate believe that your accusation­s are costing him jobs? Did you post about the theft? How would this be known publicly?

Regarding his mother, the fact that you were repaid is real. You should accept that. What more do you want? Did your roommate ever apologize to you for the theft? Do you know why he stole from you? What I’m getting at is, why are you still so upset? Something is unresolved between you two.

Go back in your mind and revisit what happened. What were the circumstan­ces of the theft? What was going on in your life and your roommate’s? What will make you feel at peace about this situation? My gut says that you still need something from him before you will be willing to release him publicly from his sins.

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