Dear Feelings Doctor: I live in Montecito, a small family community in the Santa Barbara area. We have dinner parties monthly and know everyone in town. My problem: I think I am falling in love with my girlfriend’s husband.
We see each other every week and again at parties, and I can’t stop thinking about him. We have lunch a lot, and I know that something else is coming — and I want it to happen.
— Help in Montecito
Dear Help: You say that you have designs on your girlfriend’s husband?! Really, girl? Go find someone else!
Even if he is the only one giving you the attention that you may need right now, there is such a thing as allegiance to sisterhood! There must be other trees to bark up somewhere else. Besides, this one has a night watchman!
Think this over long and hard, especially living in a small community. Things like this never end well, but they “do” always end.
Dear Feelings Doctor: I know that it may be impossible to keep everything dangerous from our children, but how can I do the best job for my family? My son recently saw another student at school carrying a knife — he is 14 years old!
— Scared in Santa Barbara
Dear Scared: Do you have candid, open, ongoing dialogue with your son? It is so important at this age of “teenager growth” for parents to have honest communication, especially with the Internet and all of the worldly access that alone brings to the family dynamic. Remember, this is your baby! The one you stayed up holding all night when his teeth came in. The one who needed you during the night when scary things in the closet came to life.
Stay with your children emotionally as well as physically so they know that when a challenge comes up you will be there to “listen” with both your ears and your heart. As far as a weapon at school, informing the principal about what happened as well as asking your son what he feels comfortable doing about it from his point of view would be good steps.
Empowering your son in this manner, discussing the importance of making solid, standup choices is a good beginning to his teenage experience.
Do not focus on what is missing
but on what is always there and cannot be taken away.
Do not focus on what is wrong or bad,
but on what is right and good.
Because you do not look for weaknesses,
you will help people find their strength.
Because you do not look for wounds,
you will help people find their gratitude.
Go have a magical day, and share it.
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— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at email@example.com. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.