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Dear Amy: Several months ago, I confessed to one of my best friends of 10 years (we are both women) that I felt very close to her and that sometimes I had more than platonic feelings.

We drank heavily and shared a long, intimate hug. This was more than a platonic hug, but we discussed the situation and buried it. The problem is that she has a wife and so do I.

This created a lot of personal anxiety and fear that she would interrupt me or that our relationship would change. All of us (including spouses) were very close.

After the “event,” we continued to go out regularly and everything seemed normal, but inside I was struggling with major depression and drinking excessively.

A month after this encounter, I texted him and expressed that I was feeling desperate and wanted to give up. (He had just left his house where we were all drinking a lot).

After that night, he told his wife what happened and cut me out of his life completely.

I understand that space and distance were necessary and I have since reduced my alcohol consumption and stopped using social media.

I’ve accepted the fact that our friendship is probably over, but I’ve basically shrunk from not interacting frequently with our mutual friends. I feel embarrassed and ashamed, but most of all, I feel somewhat exiled from my tribe.

I’ve been honest with my wife and we’ve gotten over it. This situation has made me take a hard look at myself.

I worry about what others think of me and how those relationships were affected.

I feel a little alone and lost.

Maybe I shouldn’t shrink. Maybe I’m beating myself up, but maybe I deserve it. Your thoughts?

– Exiled

Dear Exile, I’m going to look at your current relationship issues and address what I believe is at the heart of your situation: your drinking. Alcohol is lubricating all this drama. Your alcohol consumption is also inflaming your depression, because alcohol is a depressant.

His depression inspires him to reflect on his perceived losses. His depression, along with his shame, is causing her to “shrink” and beat herself up.

But you might think that this reduction marks the beginning of your recovery.

Honest, professional evaluation and treatment for your depression will help. Counseling (perhaps with his wife) will guide you to a new level of honesty.

Sobriety will help you come out with fermented perceptions and confidence.

Your friends, your true friends, will stay with you. Leave them.

Dear Amy: I invited another couple to join my wife and me at a rather expensive restaurant to celebrate my wife’s birthday.

The other couple didn’t take their wallet when the check arrived.

The bill remained on hold for a while and I finally paid for dinner.

They thanked me, but did not offer to contribute to the cost.

Were their expectations reasonable that I intended to pay for the entire dinner because I invited them to join us for birthday dinner?

My intention was not to invite them to dinner, but I’m not sure how I should have handled this awkward situation.

– Not cheap, but confusing

Dear Not Cheap: When you sent out the invitation for these two people to join you for a celebratory dinner, you were asking them to be your guests and the expectation was that you would treat them.

The pre-dinner polite dance dictates that the other couple might reach for their wallets (or offer to pay for drinks or dessert) and you’d say, “Of course not, you’re our guests.”

Dear Amy: I wanted to add an additional tip for “Screened-Out” parents who were concerned about their children’s almost constant screen use.

I suggest board games! This is my number one choice when I want to spend some family time, and has been since my kids were little.

Now that two of our three children are adults, we still get together for dinner and play weekly board games.

We also have some trivia card games that always end up inspiring fun conversations.

– Silly board

Dear Board Silly, Like other parents, I’m glad to see a rise in the popularity of board games. A YouTube channel called “Watch it Played” features video tutorials on how to play dozens of board, board, and card games.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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