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home : columns : dear harriette April 3, 2020

2/13/2020 7:51:00 AM
Friend has low self-esteem after weight-loss surgery

DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is the most beautiful girl that I know. She is funny, smart and an amazing singer. I've known her since we were in the sixth grade, so she is basically my sister. Lately, she has been down, and it is mostly due to her weight.

In middle school, she was close to being morbidly obese, so she was bullied a lot by our classmates. When we got into high school, she was selected to get gastric bypass surgery, which is a procedure that shrinks the stomach. After a couple of months, she started losing a ton of weight. She lost over 200 pounds! I am so proud of her, and she looks amazing. But she doesn't think so. I encourage her every day because I know she is a beautiful girl and that she should be proud of how much she has accomplished. My one concern is that I don't want her to develop an eating disorder, and I don't know what else to do to help her through her body image problem. What can I do to help her out? -- Concerned Bestie

DEAR CONCERNED BESTIE: Before gastric bypass surgery, patients typically have to get psychological counseling. It is good to have afterward, too. Accepting yourself for who you are is a key to a healthy life. Of course, it is important to take action to heal your body, but it often takes a while for the mind to catch up.

Encourage your friend to engage a psychologist to support her during this time of transition. Point out how much she has accomplished and how proud of her you are. Tell her that you have learned that getting professional support can help her to be strong and happy. To learn more, go to

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have not been intimate in years. It started with him having a medical condition, followed by several years of nasty back and forth. I felt like we were always yelling. I had no desire to have sex if the only other interaction that was happening was mean-spirited and negative. We have been mainly getting along recently, mostly focused on work and our children. But our second kid is about to go away to college.

As we have been planning for college, my husband mentioned that when our son leaves, he wants a divorce. This should not be a surprise; we have been mostly coexisting for years, but I guess I never thought it would actually happen. I'm scared to death. I haven't been on my own for years. My husband makes way more money than I do, and even though we are at retirement age, I doubt I can ever retire. I don't know how I will make it on my own. How can I get him to reconsider? -- Stop the Divorce

DEAR STOP THE DIVORCE: Nothing that you said suggests that you want to save the marriage. It appears that you want to save your finances. Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for as much as half of your husband's assets. That may help. But, for starters, why not ask your husband to go to counseling with you? Even if it ends up as professional support for you how uncouple, it may prove helpful for you to figure out your next steps.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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