Dear Abby: I am friendly with a married couple. The husband, “Grant,” is my best friend. His wife, “Sharon,” and I are equally close. Their wedding date was last summer.
I have known for a while that Grant didn’t want to get married. He did it to please everyone around him. Sharon, however, was elated. He hoped that after the wedding his feelings would change. Now they have been married for nine months Grant tells me he can’t continue on, that he is unhappy and no longer wants to be married.
I have begged and pleaded with him to level with Sharon. He keeps making excuses about why he hasn’t told her yet. When I talk with her, she tells me she has the feeling he doesn’t want to be married anymore.
Please help. This is stressing me out. I want to let Grant tell her, but I feel I should say something because he hasn’t. At the same time, I don’t want to have anyone mad at me. What should I do?
– Caught in the Middle
Dear Caught: Step back and keep your mouth shut. You’re in a no-win situation.
It is Grant’s job to find the courage to tell his wife he made a mistake by marrying her. While it may be painful for her to hear, it probably won’t come as a shock, from what she’s telling you.
You help neither of them by letting them discuss their marital problems with you instead of with each other. So do them both a favor and remove yourself from the middle.
Dealing with mental illness
Dear Abby: When I was 15, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, severe anxiety and social phobia. I am now 20 and have been on countless medications and tried different forms of therapy. I wish for nothing more than to be a fully functioning adult, but I am exhausted from trying my hardest to feel better internally only to find myself where I started.
What’s your best advice for young adults dealing with mental illness? How can we live our lives without fear of being rejected or shunned for our illness?
– Frustrated in Washington
Dear Frustrated: There is still ignorance, stigma and fear about mental illness mostly because it is misunderstood. However, 50 percent of adults will have a diagnosable mental illness at some time in their lives – including the ones you have.
I discussed your letter with Dr. David Baron, psychiatrist in chief at the University of Southern California hospital. He suggested that I stress to you the importance of finding a mental health professional you can trust and confide in, and have another thorough evaluation done.
In recent years newer drugs and therapies are being used which may help you, so you shouldn’t give up. In a case like yours, a combination of medication and talk therapy can be helpful.