Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: I live with a room­mate who is in her 60s and hetero­sex­ual. I am in my 30s and a les­bian. Re­cently she in­formed me that she was go­ing to be host­ing a male com­pan­ion for din­ner, drinks and danc­ing.

I had plans and asked her if she wanted me to sleep else­where or if she wanted to text me when he was gone.

She said to come home any­time. I re­turned home to a car in the drive­way and the lights off. I went in­side to mu­sic blar­ing. I grabbed my dog to take her out­side and no­ticed my room­mate’s bed­room door was closed. I then went into my room and tried to ig­nore the mu­sic and go to bed.

I am not sure if I should ad­dress the awk­ward­ness of that night. I specif­i­cally tried to avoid the sit­u­a­tion by ask­ing if I should stay gone but I feel like it went straight over her head.

I will be mov­ing out in a cou­ple months and won­der if I should keep quiet to avoid ru­in­ing our friend­ship?

Dear Awk­ward: Your room­mate had a late-night vis­i­tor. She gave you ad­vance no­tice, and — other than the mu­sic blar­ing when you re­turned home — this oc­cur­rence doesn’t seem to have had much of an im­pact on you.

You don’t men­tion any mu­tual pro­hi­bi­tion to hav­ing overnight guests, but if her be­hav­ior — or her guest’s — caused prob­lems for you, you should def­i­nitely men­tion it. Oth­er­wise, her evening of din­ner, drinks, and danc­ing, seems more an op­por­tu­nity for a “high five” than awk­ward­ness be­tween room­mates.

Dear Amy: When I was grow­ing up, my mother was ex­tremely abu­sive to my si­b­lings and me. Our fa­ther was out of the pic­ture. She put us through hell. She strug­gled with un­treated men­tal ill­ness and pre­scrip­tion drug ad­dic­tion, along with other sick be­hav­iors. When we were in our teens it was so bad that so­cial ser­vices took us away from her for about a year. She never got bet­ter.

I never hid my dis­like for my mom from my friends, even as an adult. She died re­cently at the age of 91. I was re­ally con­flicted when she died. I thought I would be re­lieved, but I wasn’t. I think I was mourn­ing the mother I never had, while still try­ing to make peace with the one I had.

When she died, very few of my friends ac­knowl­edged this loss. I know how awk­ward it must have been for oth­ers to know how to re­spond to me. Maybe they didn’t know what would be ap­pro­pri­ate to say. One of my best friends has yet to of­fer a sin­gle word of con­do­lence.

I would like your read­ers to know that no re­sponse is not the way to go.

Wish­ing me peace touched my soul. I am grate­ful to those who re­sponded to my mom’s pass­ing, be­cause so few peo­ple un­der­stood how to re­spond, which only added to my con­fu­sion and grief. — Griev­ing Friend

Dear Griev­ing: You are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a pro­found loss. And I sus­pect that you are cur­rently griev­ing the loss of all that your mother de­nied you through­out your life.

I find that peo­ple who aren’t as close to the griev­ing per­son some­times have an eas­ier time ex­press­ing sym­pa­thy. So­cial me­dia is crowded with death an­nounce­ments and the at­ten­dant ex­pres­sions: “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

Peo­ple who are closer to you know how trou­bled this re­la­tion­ship was, and so they might not feel com­fort­able of­fer­ing a gen­er­al­ized (if sin­cere) plat­i­tude. But you are ab­so­lutely right, that some ac­knowl­edg­ment is nec­es­sary, if only in or­der to in­vite you to try to de­scribe your own feel­ings. Say­ing some­thing, even some­thing like, “I’m not sure what to say,” is bet­ter than no ac­knowl­edg­ment.

I hope you will be able to tell your close friend that you would like the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss this loss with her.

Dear Amy: I couldn’t be­lieve your “ad­vice” to “In Love in the South.” This 20-year-old wanted to get mar­ried, but she was al­ready liv­ing with her boyfriend. So tell me, what’s his in­cen­tive to want to get mar­ried? He’s al­ready get­ting what he wants with­out it! — Old Fash­ioned

Dear Old Fash­ioned: This is the fa­mil­iar “why buy the milk if you can get the cow for free” ar­gu­ment. My pref­er­ence is that all adults should re­main as in­de­pen­dent and self-suf­fi­cient as pos­si­ble, whether or not they get their milk for free.

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