DEAR AMY: Over the summer, I reached out to an ex of mine whom I’ve never really gotten over. His response was not favorable.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that there is no chance of a romantic reconciliation between us, but over the past decade I’ve remained in contact with his family, especially his mother and sister, who are lovely people.
We e-mail a few times a year and send Christmas and sometimes birthday cards.
After this summer’s exchange, I “unfriended” my ex’s mother and sister from Facebook. At the time, it was too painful for me to see photos of him and hear updates about him.
Now six months have passed, and I received both a birthday greeting and a Christmas card from his sister. I feel bad for cutting off contact with no explanation.
What should I do, Amy? Should I explain to them what happened? Re-friend them without explanation? Remain silent on Facebook but continue sending birthday and holiday greetings? -- Reconsidering
DEAR RECONSIDERING: You don’t need to explain your feelings about your ex — this falls into the category of private business between you two — and you can assume that his family members probably understand some of your sensitivities without your spelling them out.
If being Facebook friends triggers tough emotions for you, then it is best to leave these people off your “friends” list. However, real-world friendships should transcend this awkwardness. I suggest you continue to be in occasional contact with these people because you are fond of them, and they are obviously fond of you.
DEAR AMY: As I looked around my home post-holiday, I realized that every aspect of Christmas is my own handiwork.
The gifts, the decorations, the meals, the baking, the shopping, the gift-wrapping, the menu planning, the Christmas cards, everything!
In conversations with friends, I have learned that it is that way in their homes as well. Their husbands love everything about Christmas, especially the baked goods and wonderful meals, but contribute next to nothing to the process.
They just show up and indulge themselves while their wives wear themselves out making it happen. If left to the husbands, there would be virtually no Christmas.
As a result, I have just about had it. I am ready to call it quits.
I know that this is a popular topic to make light of, but I find it depressing and no longer wish to participate. I have shared these feeling with my husband, who sympathizes but makes no effort to step up to the plate and share the responsibilities. Any suggestions? -- Bah Humbug
DEAR HUMBUG: You have a whole year to figure out how you’ll scale back.
Your husband’s response has set you free. You should strategize about how to make this season more tolerable for you, because he is demonstrating that he is a guy who will totally go with the flow, holiday-wise -- right?
Write yourself a document while this situation is still fresh. Make a list of the things you enjoy doing and a list of seasonal chores that you could do without. And then do without them.
Could you make do with a smaller — or no — tree? If Christmas cards are a burden, skip a year, shorten your list or create a fetching e-card.
If you love to bake, then bake with abandon. If you’d prefer to ice skate, then do that.
Fortunately you have a “sympathetic” husband. He’ll understand if the house doesn’t smell like nutmeg next Christmas. But is this what you want?
DEAR AMY: This is about the letter from “Flustered,” who had a fellow choir member guess that her husband smoked because she could smell it on her clothes.
I’m a realtor. Several years ago as I was preparing to list a house, I asked my client, “Bob, you smoke, don’t you?” He said, “Yes, but never in the house.”
I let him know that I could smell the smoke on his clothes, which were in the master bedroom closet.
Every realtor knows that “If you can smell it, you can’t sell it.” -- Realtor
DEAR REALTOR: “Flustered” was embarrassed, but for many people even the essence of secondhand smoke presents a tremendous challenge.
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