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DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been working on a project for several years. It paused for two years because of COVID-19, but it started up again last month. I noticed that one of the key freelancers with whom I had worked on this project was nowhere to be found. When I asked about him, I got the cold shoulder. I am grateful that I was invited back, but I find it odd that he is the only one who was left out. I want to reach out to him to see how he’s doing. I talked to him a couple of times during lockdown, which was nice. I feel uncomfortable now, though. I don’t want to tell him that everybody is back on the job except for him. On the other hand, it would be terrible if he found out and I hadn’t given him the heads-up. I consider him to be a friend. Should I tell him? — Excluded
DEAR EXCLUDED: Put yourself in his shoes. Would you want to know that you had been excluded from this project, especially if there’s little to no chance that you would be brought back on? I think that’s doubtful. Let it go for now. Do not contact him. Just do your job. Do the best you can and keep your head down.
If you do happen to run into him or talk to him and this gig comes up, admit that you are back working there. If he asks why you didn’t tell him about it, you can honestly say that you immediately asked if he would be returning. When you learned that he would not, you decided to leave it alone. You did not think that rubbing his nose in it would be good for anyone.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have had a contentious relationship with my husband for years. He is harsh and unkind. I have tried to leave many times, but he always convinced me to stay. Now that our kids are finally out of the house, I find him to be unbearable. We are both getting older, and he is beginning to have some health problems. Honestly, I don’t want to have to be his caretaker for the rest of his life, especially after having endured his emotional abuse for so long. I worry that I will be judged, though, if I leave him at this time. He has plenty of money. He will be able to get help if I’m not there, but you know how judgmental people can be. — Ready To Go
DEAR READY TO GO: There will always be naysayers and people who relish getting into your business. While I will not be the one to encourage you to get divorced, I will say that you need to assess your life and determine what is healthy for you. If you are with someone who has been abusive for years, you need to reflect deeply on what you believe you need and deserve in order to have a peaceful, contented life.
If you do leave, do your best to set him up with the care he needs. This may take some time, but it is worth it even if he has been abusive to you. Apart from that, don’t fall victim to the negative words of others. Live your life. Now.