Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: I have been dat­ing my (prob­a­bly ex) girl­friend for more than 11 years. Af­ter she had a run of f inan­cial prob­lems, I helped by stor­ing a lot of her fur­ni­ture and per­sonal prop­erty at my house.

I helped a lit­tle bit with her bills, helped her move, took in a cou­ple of her cats — and many other things — be­cause I was her boyfriend and be­lieved I was be­ing a good per­son to help her.

I’ve done these things, even though when I need help, emo­tional sup­port, or some form of thank you, I never re­ceive any­thing. For in­stance, I got a two-word text mes­sage for my birth­day.

Now she is start­ing to ghost me af­ter I asked for some of my money back. How long should I hold on to her things be­fore I call a thrift store and have it hauled off ? — Taken for Granted

Dear Taken: You should make a good-faith ef­fort to con­tact this woman to tell her that you in­tend to get rid of the pos­ses­sions she has left in your home. Doc­u­ment your at­tempts by print­ing out texts and emails, and keep copies. Give her a spe­cific dead­line to pick up these items (two weeks seems rea­son­able). Tell her that if she doesn’t pick them up, you’ll be donat­ing her fur­ni­ture. You should not do­nate any of her small per­sonal items (let­ters, doc­u­ments, pho­tos, etc.). These things should be put in a bin and left at her house at a pre­ar­ranged time.

If you gave this woman money be­cause she was your girl­friend, you will not get it back. If you loaned it to her and have a loan agree­ment in writ­ing, you may have to take her to court.

Dear Amy: This year marks my 25th wed­ding an­niver­sary with my wife. Our mar­riage has been quite tu­mul­tuous, and we have come close to end­ing it, but we have stayed to­gether “for the sake of the kids.”

I’ve kept our mar­riage go­ing (which has been a re­gret) for most of the last 20 years. My wife has put up this fa­cade of hap­pi­ness for many years and my two chil­dren (17 and 20) know ex­actly what is hap­pen­ing at this point.

I threw my wife a sur­prise 40th birth­day party and have al­ways re­mem­bered her on hol­i­days — even if we were fight­ing at the time. How­ever, when­ever I at­tempt to make plans to cel­e­brate these spe­cial oc­ca­sions (in­clud­ing plan­ning a trip to Europe for this an­niver­sary), my wife finds an ex­cuse not to par­tic­i­pate.

Should I treat this an­niver­sary like any other and buy my wife a piece of jewelry, or should I cor­ner her and in­sist that she do some­thing spe­cial? — Un­happy Hus­band

Dear Un­happy: You say you’re un­happy. Your wife seems dis­con­nected.

There is no ques­tion that some peo­ple are made very un­com­fort­able by the at­ten­tion that ac­com­pa­nies land­mark events. If your wife is one of these peo­ple, she will not en­joy your ef­forts, re­gard­less of your grand in­ten­tions. In this re­gard, you should plan what­ever you would en­joy do­ing, and un­der­stand that you may be fly­ing solo. “Cor­ner­ing” her won’t work.

How­ever, your wife might be de­lib­er­ately un­der­min­ing your ad­mirable ef­forts to wring some cel­e­bra­tory joy out of your union. If that is the case, per­haps you should present her with an ap­point­ment for mar­riage coun­sel­ing — or a sep­a­ra­tion agree­ment — for this land­mark an­niver­sary.

Dear Amy: I was shocked and sad­dened by “Feel­ing the Creepi­ness,” who was creeped-out by her neigh­bor vis­it­ing the el­derly and in­firm. I vol­un­teer for a hospice. My pa­tients are in as­sisted liv­ing and I spend at least an hour every week vis­it­ing them.

These are not creepy, old peo­ple. They are par­ents, col­lege pro­fes­sors, doc­tors, home­mak­ers, busi­ness peo­ple, crafts­men and la­bor­ers, pi­o­neers in space ex­plo­ration and com­puter en­gi­neer­ing. They are peo­ple with fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries to tell and deep hunger for con­nec­tion with other hu­mans. I sug­gest “Creepi­ness” reach out by ac­com­pa­ny­ing her neigh­bor on her vis­its. I guar­an­tee she will find some won­der­ful peo­ple there. — Feel­ing the Love Dear Feel­ing: Now I’m feel­ing the love. Thank you so much.

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