Dear Carolyn: I've become infatuated with a co-worker. Our interactions have been strictly professional and friendly, but I've noticed her many appealing qualities as well. At first I thought it was a harmless crush, but it's been several months and I can't stop fantasizing about her. She is married with kids, as am I. My marriage is generally happy, and I feel incredibly guilty due to all these thoughts about my co-worker.
While we don't work together directly most of the time, there is still proximity to each other. Changing jobs isn't realistic. So how can I stop thinking about someone I see nearly every day? I mean, if I told you, "Don't think about peanut butter," I'm guessing it'd be the first thing on your mind.
-- Mixed-up in the Midwest
A: True. But if I told you, "Think of nothing but peanut butter," I'm guessing your mind would wander soon. And so we have two common properties of the healthy mind: It's easily distracted by the unusual, and easily numbed to the ordinary.
Absolutely, remain strictly professional with this colleague. At the same time, in your mind only, accept this inconvenient attraction. Make her not a forbidden thought, but instead a permissible one. However: Make it a routine, and zero in on unsexy details. It's 10 a.m., time to conjure Crushina flossing. Crushina acting insecure. The more they track with her real personality, the better. Indulge the (un)fantasy until your mind wanders somewhere else.
Bridal shower snub
Dear Carolyn: I would like to get a female perspective on this situation. I have two grown granddaughters. We had a very good relationship when they were growing up. In my day the bridal shower was a way to get female members of both families together. My problem: I was not invited. The mother of those girls and I did not get along, and I wonder if it was her influence to omit me. It hurt me deeply, and I will never feel quite the same about my granddaughters (their mother is now deceased). I am around those girls now only when it is unavoidable. Have you heard of this happening to other people?
-- No name, no address please
A: I have heard of people left uninvited to milestone celebrations for reasons good, bad, stupid, and, often saddest of all, accidental. I've also heard of grudges that hurt their owners most of all. While I can't see any good reason you were snubbed, I can't see writing off these granddaughters solely for that snub -- especially since your history with them was good. I can't claim monolithic Female Perspective, but this female hopes you'll invite these women back into your life.