Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - by Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: My sis­ter has been dat­ing “Do­minic” for close to three years. She de­cided she wanted to start a whole new ca­reer path, which would re­quire go­ing back to school. Dom claims to want to be a cop, but doesn’t ap­pear to be do­ing any­thing about it.

We’ve all been con­cerned about their sit­u­a­tion, but now our fears are grow­ing deeper as I have re­cently caught Dom in a lie.

Re­cently, he claimed to have gone on a “ride along” with the po­lice units Avi­a­tion Unit. I found it quite hard to be­lieve he did such a thing and did some re­search and found the rel­e­vant pa­per­work on­line, which clearly states NO ONE is per­mit­ted to ride along with the Avi­a­tion Unit.

Fur­ther­more, the pic­ture he posted on his so­cial me­dia ac­count brag­ging about his ex­pe­ri­ence was ac­tu­ally taken from a blog posted in 2011. (I learned this do­ing a “re­verse im­age” search.)

Our whole fam­ily is very upset that this guy could be taking ad­van­tage of my sis­ter and ly­ing about ev­ery­thing. My sis­ter has taken on a lot of fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity for the two of them. She works two jobs, can barely af­ford her bills and can’t af­ford to go to school for the ca­reer she wants.

She is in love with this guy. We don’t know how to tell her that we fear her re­la­tion­ship is based on lies. She is 26. How can we ap­proach her and talk to her about this with­out los­ing her to this guy? — Con­cerned Sis­ter

Dear Sis­ter: You’ve taken it upon your­self to catch this guy, and so you should de­liver the news to your sis­ter that “Do­minic” is not the man he pre­tends to be.

You should de­liver this in a neu­tral way, of­fer­ing her only the facts, and let­ting her de­cide what — if any­thing — she wants to do about it.

It can be heart­break­ing to watch a beloved fam­ily mem­ber bury her own dreams and en­gage in what seems like a dead-end re­la­tion­ship, but you must al­ways ac­cept the fact that she is mak­ing her own choices. Even if you dis­agree with these choices, you should con­vey to her that she is in charge of her own life and that you will al­ways be in her cor­ner, no mat­ter what.

Be very wary of mak­ing overly neg­a­tive state­ments or non­nego­tiables con­cern­ing this per­son. You may all be stuck with him for some time to come.

Dear Amy: My girl­friend and I have been dat­ing for more than two years now. We’ve been talk­ing about mar­riage for well over a year, but I re­ally haven’t put a date on when to pro­pose to her.

We gen­er­ally knew that a good time to get en­gaged was once she was done with her nurs­ing pro­gram (this De­cem­ber) and per­haps once she had found em­ploy­ment.

Re­cently, my brother told me he plans to pro­pose to his girl­friend in De­cem­ber around his own one-year an­niver­sary.

Is there an eti­quette sur­round­ing how long I should wait to pro­pose in or­der to not steal his spot­light?

He knew I planned to pro­pose to my girl­friend but we had never dis­cussed tim­ing, so I can’t fault him. Still, I can’t help but feel his pro­posal plans mean I have to wait on mine.

What should I do? I’m try­ing to be thought­ful. — Older Sis­ter

Dear Sis­ter: You should ask your brother when, ex­actly, he plans to pro­pose (ob­vi­ously prom­ise to keep this knowl­edge to your­self ).

If he pro­poses in De­cem­ber, I think if you waited un­til Valen­tine’s Day, that would give every­one a chance to ab­sorb the first cou­ple’s happy news.

Keep all po­ten­tial date con­flicts in mind when plan­ning your wed­dings.

Dear Amy: This time of year, so many fam­i­lies fret about gift-giv­ing. When I was grow­ing up, our ex­tended fam­ily con­sisted of my grand­par­ents, their three sons and spouses and seven grand­chil­dren — 15 peo­ple.

Our fam­ily de­cided to do a draw­ing. Each fam­ily mem­ber drew the name of another mem­ber of the fam­ily not in their im­me­di­ate fam­ily group. Each fam­ily mem­ber got just one gift, each gift from some­one not in their im­me­di­ate fam­ily.

How­ever, we kids still got lots of gifts from our par­ents and grand­par­ents. — Happy

Dear Happy: My fam­ily also did this. The draw­ing oc­curred around the Thanks­giv­ing ta­ble af­ter the dishes had been cleared. This is a fun way to han­dle the gift ex­change.

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