Ask Amy: Weirdness with old flame creates issues

September 2, 2012

DEAR AMY: I’m a 22-year-old undergraduate student. Recently, I started seeing an old flame.

This year will be our sixth year of having a weird relationship — we’ve never made it official, but we act like a couple from time to time.

Many people don’t know about us, but we’ve had a few dates here and there, and recently started to become somewhat serious. The problem is that he’s been in a relationship for almost four years.

He always opens up to me about what a good person she is and how much he cares about her. However, he doesn’t mind seeing other people, nor does he see himself settling down with her anytime soon.

He has mentioned before that he’s willing to leave her for me, but I go to school about three hours away, and I don’t believe this would be fair to her.

I’ve had feelings for him since my sophomore year of high school. One friend that does know about this relationship says not to pursue anything until he makes up his mind about what he really wants. What do you think I should do? -- Wondering

DEAR WONDERING: You shouldn’t have to worry about what would be fair to your boyfriend’s girlfriend. That really should be his job.

Simplify this by considering what would be best for you. Is monogamy important to you? If so, this guy is not a good bet. When he says he’ll leave his girlfriend for you, it is possible that he simply intends to replace his current primary girlfriend with you.

Would he continue to see other people (as he is doing now)? Would you continue to see other people?

Basically, because of the physical distance between you, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to try to force this guy toward change. You wouldn’t be close enough to maintain a steady relationship, if that is what you want.

And if you don’t want a steady relationship, then you’re good now, because that’s exactly what you have.

DEAR AMY: I gave my sister some baby stuff, and her dog ate the play mat that I had included with these items.

She says that she had left it in the play area for months (which the dog has access to) with no problems before this, and the dog hasn’t touched any other toys.

Should I be offended? I feel like she was careless for leaving it within the animal’s reach. -- Curious Sister

DEAR SISTER: If you gave these things to your sister, then they now belong to her. It can be frustrating when other people aren’t as careful as you might be with their things, but unless this was a family heirloom, you shouldn’t be offended.

Play mats belong on the floor, and if you have ever lived with a baby and a playful dog, you know that they are indiscriminate and undiscerning chew-monsters.

And that’s just the babies! Dogs are too.

If this drives you crazy now, in the future you should either steel yourself to the idea that when you pass things along, you might not see them again, or not pass things on to her.

DEAR AMY: “Flustered Fiancee” was wondering whether she should include her fiance’s sister in her bridal party, even though she doesn’t know her very well.

You said she should, and I agree.

She may not know her future sister-in-law well, but her groom knows his sister very well. If they were close as children and have a good relationship, she should definitely include her.

This woman will be in the bride’s life for many years and be an aunt to her children.

I was left out of my favorite brother’s wedding because the bride “didn’t know me well,” and it hurt for years.

“Flustered” should be gracious and include someone she will have a relationship with for many years. -- Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: As I said to “Flustered Fiancee,” weddings are about the couple’s past and also about their family’s future.

The sister of the groom encompasses both ends of the spectrum.

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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