A com­pli­cated re­union

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions to Amy Dickinson by email to askamy@tri­bune.com.

Dear Amy: A friend whom I have been close to since grade school has just moved back to our home area. We were both ex­cited for our fam­i­lies to get to know each other.

Af­ter a few of my in­vi­ta­tions and sug­ges­tions to meet up were de­clined, he came for­ward with the news that his wife is un­com­fort­able with me. His wife also went to high school with me, but we didn’t know each other. We’ve shared per­haps two brief con­ver­sa­tions, all over 15 years ago. I have no idea what could be both­er­ing her.

I am deeply sad­dened to lose the op­por­tu­nity to get to know her and my friend’s chil­dren and am shocked that I can’t be in con­tact with my long­time friend. Am I sup­posed to grace­fully bow out of this friend­ship? Even an ex­pla­na­tion would help lessen what feels like an un­fair blow.

At a Loss

Dear At A Loss: At this point, the best route to your old friend might be through forg­ing a new friend­ship with his wife. Per­haps you could pull to­gether a gath­er­ing (maybe in­clud­ing other high school pals), wel­com­ing her and her hus­band back to their old stomp­ing grounds — and make a point of invit­ing her to re­con­nect. If you try this and fail, then un­for­tu­nately you will have to ac­cept your pri­mary friend’s un­for­tu­nate choice.

Dear Amy: My prob­lem is with a neigh­bor who moved in about two years ago. Af­ter spend­ing over a year cre­at­ing some kind of dirt wall and then plant­ing dead or scrawny, un­healthy, ran­dom bushes to com­plete the wall and then adding three stone wall “treat­ments,” our neigh­bor hung up his signs advertising his land­scap­ing busi­ness.

The bushes block views of cars trav­el­ing around a busy cor­ner, thus mak­ing driv­ing and walk­ing on the street a bit more dan­ger­ous, and we are only a few blocks from an ele­men­tary school.

My next-door neigh­bor, who is try­ing to sell her house, says po­ten­tial buy­ers take one look out of her front win­dow and head out the back door. I am just glad I have blinds! Any ad­vice?

Blin­ders On

Dear Blin­ders: You could in­ves­ti­gate lo­cal zon­ing and safety laws to see if your neigh­bor’s busi­ness is in com­pli­ance. If your neigh­bor is in com­pli­ance, there is likely noth­ing you can do. He has built his own “fence,” and even if it is not a “good” one, you should try to be a good neigh­bor.

Dear Amy: Your ad­vice to “Bro­ken­hearted,” who re­ceived the same gifts and en­dear­ments from her wi­d­ower hus­band that he gave his first wife, was right on! Many men are not in­tu­itive or cre­ative in these ar­eas, and he may have been sim­ply try­ing to ex­press his love for her us­ing what he knew. He most likely will need gen­tle guid­ance and sug­ges­tions from her to es­tab­lish their own tra­di­tions and mem­o­ries.

A large part of his be­ing is di­rectly re­lated to his for­mer mar­riage, with­out which he would not be the same per­son he is now. I hope she can find com­fort, ac­cep­tance and even grat­i­tude with the mem­ory of his for­mer wife and will find that the “ghost” is ac­tu­ally a spirit of good will and a prom­ise of hap­pi­ness to come.

Older and Wiser Too

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