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past imperfect

Out of the blue, my wife and I were invited to a party by a couple who just recently moved back to town. Since we hadn’t seen these friends in a long time, we were excited to go. We called them up to say we’d be there, and wound up having a good conversation as we caught up on things.

Two days ago, I bumped into another old friend on the street. There too, it was sort of like we’d never lost touch, even though we had a lot of catching up to do. During the course of the conversation, I realized that these were all mutual friends back in the day, and I asked the guy if he was going to so-and-so’s party.

As soon as the question left my mouth I knew I’d screwed up. He got mad and asked me what I meant asking him such a stupid question. Turns out I had no idea that this guy had had an affair with the wife of the couple throwing the party. This had all happened in the intervening years when I’d begun losing contact with all of them. According to this guy, the wife seduced him, and led him to believe she was ready to get a divorce. Then she got all weird, leaving him all kinds of messages. And then, poof, they moved away. No more contact.

He said it messed with his head because he really had the hots for her, and she told him she was unhappy in her marriage. I told my wife about it and she freaked, because she’d been pretty tight with the wife right up until they moved away, and she never heard anything about this affair.

So do we still go to this party, or is it best to just leave some friendships in the past? And if we decide to go, how do we act normally, now knowing what we do?

—To Party or Not to Party?

The Practical Cogitator says: First of all, you should know better than to ask people if they’ve “also” been invited to a function. Once you receive an invitation, you should choose whether or not to attend based on your relationship with the hosts. If you enjoy the host couple then you should be able to bank on them coordinating a nice group of people, your attendance at their party should not be dependent on the rest of the guest list.

Secondly, you should leave peoples private business private. Not only did you create an enormous faux pas even asking if they were invited, but when the second set of friends told you about the affair, you should have politely ended the conversation somehow. Clearly, you have more information than you are capable of handling. To make matters worse you’ve told your wife about it, who I’m sure will feel the need to tell another…

I suggest you go to this party, because after you gossip about this with all your friends, you surely wont be invited anywhere else.

family feud

Help! I share a home with my sibling who is emotionally unstable, a major drama queen, and attracts questionable male visitors and negative energy into our home. She’s been going through a prolonged, ugly breakup with her boyfriend and subsequently started inviting over a random male colleague who has a sordid past. I’ve become so aggravated with the situation that I’ve threatened to move out. However, I find it galling that my parents, who own the property, are not sticking up for me. They’re allowing my sibling to act like a spoiled brat and they even told her that if I move out, they will help her out with the rent! If anything, my sibling should move out as she is the one who is impossible to live with and she constantly brings negative energy into our home. How do I make my family see that she’s the one who needs to go, not me?

—Soon to Be Homeless

The Practical Cogitator says: Your family is right. Your drama queen sister clearly still needs their help. You seem to be most irritated with the situation. Grow up, move out, and become an independent young adult. Maybe it’s time for you to leave the nest.

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