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An affair cured my depression. But no one knows the real reason why I got better.

I’ve been married for almost 20 years and my marriage has always been pretty good. But I struggled with depression for a long time. I never had any energy and I didn’t feel like doing anything. I never really stuck to taking antidepressants long enough to see if they could help. During the pandemic, I became close to a coworker because we had a lot of Zoom meetings–just the two of us and he got to see my house and I got to know about his private life too. And for the first time in a long time, I started to feel happier. When the lockdown restrictions ended, our relationship became physical–only a few times. He says he’s happily married as well and neither of us have any plans to leave our spouses. We occasionally find an excuse to set up online meetings with one another and we flirt a little. Once a month or so we end up in the office on the same day. I can’t guarantee we’ll never meet up again. But I’m confused about how this friendship turned affair seems to have cured my depression. My husband and my friends have all noticed how much better I’m doing. I have more energy, I take more pride in my appearance, and I feel like going out and doing fun things again. Of course, no one knows the reason why. I never thought I’d be someone who would cheat so it doesn’t make sense to me why I did it. And it doesn’t make sense why it made me feel better, instead of feeling guilty. Why do I feel better and what do I do now?

Why do I ignore obvious red flags in relationships?

There are always tons of red flags in my relationships. When I start dating someone, I see that something is a potential red flag but I brush it off and tell myself it's not a big deal. Then I end up in bad relationships. All my friends and family are always telling me to be on the lookout for red flags. They know me well. But like the last relationship I was in, the guy didn't want me to post any pictures of us together on social media. I knew that sounded suspicious but he kept telling me it was because he had a crazy ex and he didn't want her to know about me. It was really because he was still dating other people behind my back. How do I get better at taking action when I see those red flags?

Extoverted me makes plans. Introverted me regrets it later. Why do I do this?

I think I like the idea of going and being social so I schedule things to do. But when the time comes to do those things, I almost always regret it. I don't want to cancel at the last minute so I push myself out the door but every single time I say I'm not going to do that again. I keep doing it though. I usually have an ok time when I go out but it takes a lot of effort. It's like I want to be an extrovert and I can't accept that I'm an introvert. Why do I do this and how do I stop?

My sister always wants to rehash our childhood. She says it therapeutic. I think it's re-traumatizing. Who's right?

Our dad left when we were young and our single mom dated lots of horrible men over the years. Our childhood was rough and filled with people who sometimes abused our mom (or us) and had substance abuse issues. Lately, my sister wants to talk about what things were like growing up. I have no desire to talk about it. She says my refusal to talk about it means I'm not working through my pain. I am just avoiding it. But I don't see how listening to her tell me her version of our childhood events would help me. I try not to think about it. She thinks about it all the time. Which is a sign of a strength? And how do I know I'm growing stronger?

How do I break up with a friend?

I’ve been friends with a woman I’ll call Jen for a few years. She’s the type of friend who is always up for anything and we have fun together. But recently, I learned she posts really mean things to people online. We belong to the same local community group on Facebook and she’ll tell strangers they’re stupid for asking what time a restaurant closes in a group instead of just calling. Or on Instagram, she makes fun of celebrities or disses people with different political views. She’s not mean in person so I am shocked she’s like this online. But some of her comments were disturbing–like she made snarky comments to someone who just lost their spouse and seeing those things makes me not want to be friends with her anymore. I don’t want to just ghost her but on the other hand, it’s awkward to break up with a friend. Am I overreacting by not wanting to be friends? And how would I go about ending the friendship?