My husband really doesn’t want to go out with them anymore. I understand. I can meet her separately for lunch. But I would really like to keep them as “couple” friends too. My husband wants me to suggest that they get a sitter. They both have advanced degrees and have excellent careers, so they can afford a sitter. However, I don’t really know how to suggest that they hire a baby sitter so we can have an adult conversation. -- Unsure
DEAR UNSURE: It might not be realistic for you to keep these people as “couple” friends, because they aren’t a couple — they’re a family, and their practice is to include their daughter in adult events.
It doesn’t matter how educated they are or whether they can afford a sitter. Some families simply don’t leave their child at home and more or less submerge their individuality for 15-20 years while they pour everything they have into their children. This can be especially true with career couples who don’t spend a lot of time with their kids during the day.
If your friends are in this category, suggesting they leave their child with a sitter will be like suggesting they leave her in the car with the window cracked.
If this is the case, you should accept this child as part of a package deal. And once in a while, this might be completely enjoyable for all of you.
Otherwise, ask, “Do you ever leave ‘Lucy’ with a sitter? We enjoy her but we would also love to go out with just the two of you.”
DEAR AMY: I loved your answer to “Feeling Betrayed,” the homophobic parent wanting her/his son to “stop being gay.”
The part of your response where you addressed this parent forgetting the son’s birthday for three years in a row hit a tender spot in me.
My husband has forgotten my birthday for the last two years. He has also forgotten it a few other times. We have been married 12 years. The second year in a row was very painful.
How would you respond to my husband? -- Sad Wife
DEAR SAD: I heard from thousands of people after that letter ran. While supportive of the main part of my advice, many people said, “How could a parent forget a child’s birthday? This doesn’t happen.” Others said, “My mother/father forgot my birthday and it hurt so much.”
I think that anyone who forgets a beloved and close family member’s birthday is disrespecting that person and in a basic sense negating that person’s identity.
Granted, people are flawed and sometimes forgetful.
But here’s the thing about birthdays: Birthdays mark a person’s presence in the world. I’m not talking about receiving loads of gifts. I’m talking about someone taking a minute to say, “I celebrate you. I’m so happy you’re here.”
You should talk to your husband about this and remind him in advance of the day. I realize this is not what you want to do, but he sounds like a guy who needs an annual “heads-up.”
DEAR AMY: “Flummoxed” wrote about her niece posting disrespectful comments about her own secretary on Facebook.
“Dignity resides in the person, not in the job.” This is taken from a quote uttered by the character Spock on “Star Trek.”
Facebook seems to be a breeding ground for petty tyrants. Perhaps it is because Facebook is a place where some are always busy minding everybody else’s business, and acceptable boundaries, for all types of behaviors, have become irreparably blurred. -- Steve
DEAR STEVE: I disagree with you about Facebook, but I agree with all things Spock. Thank you for the wise quote.
Amy’s column appears seven days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Write to Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
2014 by the Chicago Tribune