Los Angeles Times

Halting harassing letters

- Email questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@ amydickins­on.com.

Dear Amy: When my wife was a teenager, a 20-something man she knew in her social circle became obsessed with her. He kept calling her and would mainly whine about his life.

He started talking about marriage, although for her he was just an annoying acquaintan­ce.

She finally told him to stop contacting her. He then started in on her friends and family. When she and I got engaged, he contacted me and my friends and family.

He wrote lots of long, whiny letters about how miserable he was and how terrible she was and why can’t they just be friends.

This went on for years. Finally he stopped, and we hoped he’d finally moved on.

But he started up again. We’re in our 60s now.

His letters are the same as before, full of delusions about how things used to be.

The letters are very distressin­g to my wife. She’s in counseling.

We’ve contacted lawyers, but they’re not interested because he hasn’t made any violent threats.

What can we do?


Dear Conflicted: You say these letters don’t contain threatenin­g language and don’t cross the line into harassment. Are you sure? You have expressly asked not to be contacted, so you should do more research to see if the content of these letters is over the legal line.

Writing and sending letters might be a venting exercise for this unstable person — and you never responding may cause him to taper off.

Go to the post office and speak with your local postmaster. Ask about your options for refusing this mail. Ask if they can not deliver mail from this sender, or if filing a form called PS 1500 (which applies to sexually explicit material) might be possible or advisable.

They might advise you (not your wife) to open and read these letters to make sure they have not changed in tone (keep them in a file), or for you to order an ink stamp that says, “Moved, no forwarding address” or “Return to sender,” and send the letters back unopened.

Take a photo of these letters to have a record of when they were delivered.

Dear Amy: I work in an office environmen­t that was very busy and stressful — before the pandemic hit.

All workers in my category have worked from home for almost three years now.

I find that I am just as productive as before, and much happier. I have saved 10 hours of commuting time a week, as well as a substantia­l sum that I would have spent on clothing, lunches and commuting.

My company is now urging all of us to return to the office. I’ve heard through the grapevine that they will start really cracking down. What should I do?

Happily Working

Dear Happily Working:

Communicat­e with your manager to see if there is flexibilit­y in this dictate for a productive and seasoned worker like you. Are you willing to go into the office at all?

Few labor laws protect your preference. But the marketplac­e is on your side.

Job search engine Adzuna, in “a year-over-year analysis of advertised job vacancies across the U.S., ... found that from November 2020 to 2022, job postings grew by more than 6.2 million. Yet less than 2% were for office-based roles, whereas ads for remote roles rose by nearly 10%.”

It might be time to hop back into the job market.

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