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DEAR HARRIETTE: My older cousin is getting mar- ried in two months. We’ve never had the best relationship, but we’ve been attempting to mend things lately. We bonded at my great-aunt’s (her grand- mother’s) funeral and start- ed to talk regularly afterward. I logged on to social media last weekend to see that she, all of her friends and our mutual cousin were in New Orleans for her bridal shower. I don’t understand why I wasn’t invited. I’m feeling as if all of our moments of bonding and reconnecting were fake and forced on her end. What should I do? Am I right to be upset? — Wasn’t Invited
DEAR WASN’T INVITED: Don’t fret too much. You said that you and your cousin have not had the best relationship and that it has begun to change for the better only recently. Sure, it would have been generous of her to include you in her bridal shower activities, but it could also be considered a leap. It’s one thing to spend time one on one, intimately cultivating a friendship with each other. It’s another thing entirely to bring you into a group of people who may already be close, or who at least are known to get along well.
Rather than giving up on the tender bond that you two are developing, forgive her for not including you. Continue to talk to her and get to know each other bet- ter. If you want to have a relationship with her, keep it going.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been suggesting the same birthday present from my husband for two years. He asked me what I wanted, and I wasn’t even subtle when I told him. My birth- day just passed, and he did not get me the gift. I know it wasn’t out of his price range. I’m so upset with him. I want to ask him why, but I don’t want to sound like a spoiled brat. Do I express my frustration or just let it go? — Wrong Birthday Present
DEAR WRONG BIRTHDAY PRESENT: It is time for you to fully step into your own power. Why wait for your husband to buy you something that is affordable and that you know you want? Buy it for yourself. This will tell him that you can and do have agency over your own hap- piness.
You can make a celebration out of it. Wrap the gift and open it in front of him. Tell him that you decided to give yourself the item that you desired. Or just get it for yourself and enjoy it.
Of course, it would be nice for your husband to choose to give you something that would make you happy, but you should not allow his insensitivity to steal your joy. Show your- self and him that you can be happy independent of him. From a position of strength, you can then talk to him sometime down the line about why he chose not to honor your wishes. That candid conversation can potentially lead to a deeper discussion about how you two care for each other.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAM- LEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.