Dear Amy: I have been divorced for two years. I frequently see my two young daughters, and remain on decent terms with my ex.
Several friends, dating back to my college years, have chosen to “side” with my ex-wife.
There was no side to take, as I believe our divorce was our business and not theirs. Some have simply said nothing, and others have intimated that they are surprised by our marriage failure and do not want to be around the person (me, allegedly) who caused the failure — which of course is a classic “he said, she said.”
But I recognize that they are free to choose.
In an angry moment, I unfollowed all of these people on social media, but now I miss keeping up with their families and lives, even through a screen.
I’ve considered writing each of them an email or letter as a “mea culpa,” wishing them well and asking that we reconnect.
Is that the best course of action, or should I let sleeping dogs lie?
I’m in a new healthy relationship, but I long for friends from the past, who seemed to jump ship at an uncomfortable moment for them, but one when I needed them most.
— Missing Friends
Dear Missing Friends: These people are all thoroughly out of your life at this point, and because of that, there is no downside to you reaching out.
Either they accept your bid and let you in, or they continue to respect their “unfriended” status.
I do detect a certain tone in your query, however. Based on your description, it sounds as if you left the household and your wife is now the primary parent raising the children.
Given those details, plus the fact that you abruptly broke off contact with all of these people, you are behaving like a protagonist who is now reckoning with the consequences of the choices he has made.
Yes, divorce is awful, especially when there are children involved.
Friends do choose sides, and while that seems cowardly, they often choose to identify with the parent who has the kids and the house, especially if they also have children and there is a strong social history between the families.
Your obvious frustration and defensive posture won’t help your case.
Your mea culpa might include: “This has been the toughest period of my life. The dust seems to have settled and we are in a pretty good place. I’m working on my own issues, and making progress. I find that I really miss seeing updates about your life. We share such a long and rich history. I’m hoping to reconnect, at least through social media.”
Dear Amy: My nephew is going to graduate from high school this month and I have NOT been invited to either the graduation or an open house they are having.
I have saved up a considerable amount of money to give to him, but am now wondering if I should even send it.
I never get thank you’s from him (or his parents, for that matter) for any gifts I send for birthdays and holidays.
Now I’m thinking that I would rather use the money on expenses I have, but I know this will sever a very thread-bare relationship I have with my brother.
What do you think?
My brother already knows the amount I have saved, so if I send less, he will probably call me out on it.
— Frustrated Aunt
Dear Frustrated: If your brother knows the amount you have saved up for his son and he isn’t even bothering to include you in any of their graduation celebrations, then I’d say that this family is not at all eager to receive any gift from you.
I think you should siphon off a very modest amount from your savings, slip it into a card for your nephew, and consider this matter absolutely closed.
If this money from you is the thread your relationship has been dangling on, then I think you should snip it off.
You are officially off the hook forever.
Enjoy your liberation. I hope you treat yourself to something nice.
Dear Amy: “Swim Parent” is being pressured to transport a neighbor’s daughter to and from swim practice, with no help from the neighbors.
I agree that this isn’t right, but this parent is modeling respect and kindness to these girls. They’ll both remember it.
— Been There
Dear Been There: I agree. Respect and kindness: Harder to master than the butterfly stroke.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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