She lost the cheque, do I owe her another?

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­ DEAR EL­LIE

Q. Sev­eral years ago, an ac­quain­tance asked for fi­nan­cial help to­wards a fit­ness course she wanted to take.

I wasn’t com­fort­able just hand­ing over money, so I asked her to paint my child’s sec­ond-hand dresser in ex­change. I wrote her a cheque for $300.

Six years later, she’s called out of the blue and said she’d found my cheque from years be­fore and re­al­izes she’d never cashed it.

I be­lieve her be­cause she’s al­ways been pretty flaky, but I’m em­bar­rassed for her and be­lieve it’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate that she’s asked me to write another cheque.

I re­cently moved, am look­ing for a job, and don’t have easy money to hand out. Yet I feel that since she did do the “work” for that cheque, I owe her some­thing.

A. In close sec­ond place for ru­in­ing friend­ships (fol­low­ing some­one go­ing af­ter your lover) is “bor­rowed” money. Be pre­pared to lose the friend­ship. You hardly see her any­way, and though you say you be­lieve her about the lost cheque, you still de­scribe her com­ing back for more money as “in­ap­pro­pri­ate.”

But this de­ci­sion is more about you than her. You ob­vi­ously feel some com­pas­sion for her and want to do what feels com­fort­able for you.

You could in­quire from your bank if she truly never cashed the cheque, or you could ask her to re­turn the old one be­fore you give her another.

Both those ac­tions would likely stop her re­turn­ing to the well a third time. But they could also hu­mil­i­ate her.

Or, you could give her half as much this time (ex­plain­ing, if you wish, that you cur­rently have no job).

This time, ask for noth­ing in re­turn, un­less she makes the of­fer of another small help­ful task, for her pride’s sake.

Feed­back re­gard­ing the menopausal woman, 41, who has no in­ter­est in sex and whose hus­band wants per­mis­sion to get it else­where (April 22):

Reader: “I dis­agree that her hus­band is look­ing for the way out. In my opin­ion, he’s look­ing to meet his phys­i­cal/hor­monal needs since his wife re­fuses sex with him. He plans to stay with her and their chil­dren.

“The wiser de­ci­sion on her part would be to grant him a “hall pass,” with rules around her health (if she still plans to have some forms of in­ti­macy with him), and her pri­vacy.

El­lie: In this case, the “hall pass” is al­most inevitably a foot out the door since it seems that her “re­jec­tion” of him and his blow-ups have be­come the main­stay of their emo­tional re­la­tion­ship, rather than a di­rect re­sult of her low­ered li­bido.

He likely wants to stay mar­ried while hav­ing sex else­where, to keep the fam­ily in­tact. But their chil­dren are re­peat­edly be­ing ex­posed to his ex­plo­sive rants and the cold­ness be­tween their par­ents.

It’s time for a de­ci­sion about their abil­ity/will­ing­ness to try and work it out. If not, he can seek lots of sex if he chooses, once they’re apart.

Feed­back re­gard­ing the young wife who has fre­quent, smelly flat­u­lence at home, in the car, etc. which she finds amus­ing. She won’t see a doc­tor for a med­i­cal checkup de­spite her hus­band’s dis­com­fort with it, and urg­ings that she do so (April 3):

Reader: “I was liv­ing with some­one who, af­ter a time, when he ex­pelled gas, he could clear a room.

“It turns out that he had ad­vanced­stage colon cancer at the time, which was later dis­cov­ered on a rou­tine med­i­cal check. He’d had no other symp­toms of his dis­ease than the foul-smelling flat­u­lence.”

El­lie: The col­umn, in­clud­ing this ques­tion about flat­u­lence, at­tracted many on­line and print read­ers that day. That’s why I’m still pub­lish­ing feed­backs re­lated to the health warn­ings it has sparked. Ex­ces­sive stom­ach gas is not a joke. Check it out.

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