Dear Amy: My wife of more than 40 years and I had a mu­tual part­ing of ways five years ago. Though we went our sep­a­rate ways, we har­bor no sear­ing animosity to­ward one another and we reg­u­larly talk in

The Denver Post - - LIFE&CULTURE - by Amy Dick­in­son Con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via e-mail, askamy@tribpub.com

civil and po­lite tones.

My for­mer wife thought I was go­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion, but I quickly made an ef­fort to meet a new woman through on­line dat­ing.

I was suc­cess­ful in that venture. My ex joined many dif­fer­ent clubs and or­ga­ni­za­tions and even­tu­ally fell in with a man whose com­pany she en­joys. Happy end­ing? I wish.

I was happy for my ex, but women I met on­line told me that this guy con­tin­ues to oc­cupy a spot in the on­line dat­ing scene, mes­sag­ing women about his avail­abil­ity. It is not my busi­ness, but I’d also rather not have her con­tract an STD be­cause of this guy’s se­cret li­aisons.

I’m feel­ing per­plexed about the is­sue. My ex’s heart is apt to be bro­ken pretty much ei­ther way. She es­chews on­line dat­ing, so she is not apt to dis­cover his habits on her own, but I don’t want her to die pre­ma­turely or to live with an STD she couldn’t see com­ing, due to his de­ceit. Ad­vice? — Con­cerned Ex

Dear Con­cerned: It should be easy for you to con­firm whether this man is ac­tive on dat­ing sites (at least the ones you are also on), and be­fore say­ing any­thing to your ex, you should con­firm this.

You two were mar­ried for 40 years. You seem to have re­mained friendly, if not friends. You gen­uinely care about your ex’s wel­fare. You also don’t know about their re­la­tion­ship or ar­range­ment.

Once you con­firm this man’s on­line ac­tiv­ity, you can say to your ex, “I just want you to know that ‘Barry’ is cur­rently ac­tive on on­line dat­ing sites and has mes­saged women I know. I don’t want to in­ter­fere in your re­la­tion­ship, but I thought you would want to know.”

That’s it. Your ex might get mad at you or not take this news well, but what’s she go­ing to do, di­vorce you?

Dear Amy: I don’t mind the usual so­cial pleas­antries, but I can’t stand it when drive-thru cof­fee drink-mak­ers try to en­gage me, a com­plete stranger, in small talk such as, “What are you up to?” “Just get­ting off work?” “Do­ing any­thing fun to­day?”

How do I po­litely com­mu­ni­cate to

these young, cheer­ful peo­ple that I just want my cof­fee? — Not Your Chum in Chico

Dear Not Your Chum: You are right, that there is a line over which many of us don’t want to step dur­ing glanc­ing en­coun­ters with strangers while do­ing er­rands. So — cashiers at the su­per­mar­ket — please don’t com­ment on the con­tents of my gro­cery cart, which skews heav­ily to­ward cat food. It makes me feel like a cat lady (which, I sup­pose, I am).

And, “Do­ing any­thing fun to­day?” comes off as con­de­scend­ing from some­one half your age, who has no idea that you just left work and are on your way to the nurs­ing home to visit your ail­ing par­ent.

I think the way to po­litely com­mu­ni­cate that you just want your cof­fee is to an­swer ev­ery greet­ing with, “Just try­ing to get through another day. That latte is go­ing to help. Thanks.”

I’ll hap­pily run re­sponses from read­ers.

Dear Amy: I am re­spond­ing to var­i­ous com­ments re­gard­ing the wis­dom of let­ting an ado­les­cent watch the movie “The Ex­or­cist.” You seem to think it is a fairly be­nign choice.

My hus­band had the same at­ti­tude and let our 13-year-old son watch this movie when it showed up on TV one night (he as­sumed it had been edited; it had not).

This movie trau­ma­tized our son. He was ex­tremely fear­ful for months.

We ended up seek­ing med­i­cal and then ther­a­peu­tic help for him, and af­ter ex­plor­ing all of the pos­si­bil­i­ties, ev­ery­one con­cluded this movie was ac­tu­ally the cul­prit. My son is now in his late 20s and when I shared your point of view with him, he com­pletely dis­agreed with you. — Faith­ful Reader

Dear Reader: Ev­ery par­ent should make me­dia choices along­side their child, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion their child’s tem­per­a­ment.

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