Amy Dickinson
Columnist

Ask Amy: Long-ago affair now taxes boundaries

DEAR AMY: I was involved with a married man for more than 15 years. He was going to leave his wife to be with me, but it never happened. I was naive and thought he was serious about our relationship because we saw each other morning, noon and night. We had so much in common and enjoyed every minute we were together.

After the affair ended, we remained good friends. We still have friends in common and communicate by cellphone. He stops by my house on a regular basis. Recently, he told me that he and his wife were going to downsize to a smaller house. He owns a lot of land and there are a lot of places he could build his “retirement home,” but he tells me it will be on property adjacent to me!

Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson offers straightforward advice on relationships, family and life in her syndicated column, Ask Amy. Syndicated advice columns are run in their entirety on washingtonpost.com; versions published in the newspaper might differ due to space constraints.

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What kind of man would do something like that? His wife doesn’t like me, but she has no idea about the extent of my relationship with her husband. My neighbors and friends who knew about our relationship have said that he should have picked another location. They think that he is being self-centered and inconsiderate of my feelings.

I am still reeling from this. What do you imagine he is thinking? -- Frustrated Former

DEAR FRUSTRATED: You claim that after your sexual affair ended you maintained a long-term friendship with this man, entertaining him in your home and talking frequently on the phone.

I suspect your former flame imagines that he can continue to be your friend, only now from next door. If you don’t want him to build a house next to you, it would be a good idea to stop discussing this with mutual friends and start discussing this with him. He doesn’t sound like someone who has much respect for boundaries, but you should do your best to draw them now.

DEAR AMY: I assist a mildly disabled woman with her financial affairs and a few other things. I’m happy to do it. In return, she insists on giving me food that she has cooked. Amy, she is a dreadful cook! My husband and I have even gotten sick from some of her “gifts.”

I also hate to see her using her limited funds to buy ingredients for this food. How can I stop her without hurting her feelings? Throwing the food away seems wasteful, and we wouldn’t dare inflict it on someone else. -- Grateful But Queasy

DEAR GRATEFUL: You might be able to direct your friend’s giving by steering her toward something she can make that you can also stomach. You can say, “You are so nice to cook for us. You know what we’d really love? Chocolate chip cookies. Can you make those? We’d love to keep some in our freezer.”

The dough is available in no-fail, pre-mixed versions. You might be able to direct her toward this.

DEAR AMY: In your response to “Dissed,” the uncle (or aunt) who was asked to officiate at a niece’s wedding, you spoke of his “mail-order clerical collar.” According to state (or provincial) law, a pastor or justice of the peace is legally allowed to officiate at marriages only in the jurisdiction where he lives and nowhere else.

It requires a lot of time and paperwork to receive legal permission to officiate in another state. One of my best friends, an ordained pastor in Alberta, Canada, had to jump through a lot of hoops, along with lots of time and paperwork, to officiate at his brother’s wedding in another province.

“Dissed” had reason to be miffed with this niece. I doubt she knew how much trouble this relative went through to be there for her on that special day. -- Canadian Reader

DEAR READER: “Dissed” didn’t mention being a member of the clergy, thus my reference to a “mail-order” collar. It seems to require more paperwork for clergy members to officiate at a wedding than for a civilian to become ordained for this purpose.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

 
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