Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: My parents separated when I was 12, and at that point my father never really bothered with me again. We started talking again about four years ago (six months after my son was born). My father comes to my home, takes me to dinner every couple of months and then seems to forget about me until I call him up and ask how he's doing. I've always had to put in the effort and forgive and forget, but he's always told me if ever I needed him, for whatever reason, he would help me -- or try to be there for me. Last month I got into some financial problems. He always brags about how much money he makes, the vacation cottage he bought (that I've never been invited to) and his travels around the world. He just paid $25,000 for my oldest sister to go to school and is currently paying her rent. I have never in my life asked him for anything, but I thought -- hey, why not? I asked him to help me out -- I didn't mention an amount and, honestly, $20 would have sufficed. I needed some cash to tide me over until payday. He acted as if I was handing him a business proposition -- like a "how are you going to guarantee this loan" kind of deal. Of course I would have paid him back. He has never been there for me. Should I keep forgiving and forgetting everything and keep making an effort to have a relationship with him? Or should I just dump him on the side like he's done with me my whole life?
DEAR HURT: Your father is not a good parent (to you, anyway) -- he seems to have left your family when you were young and has neglected you ever since. Now you have come up with yet another way for him to disappoint you -- and he did.
All of this talk of "forgiving and forgetting" doesn't seem to have done you much good. Perhaps it's time for you to realize that you are no longer a lost little girl. You are an adult and a parent yourself. Use your words. Describe how his treatment makes you feel.
He is showing you that, despite what he says, he is not willing/able to be the father you want him to be. You don't need to "forget" this. You do need to find a way to accept it.
DEAR AMY: My dear friend of many years finally met and married the man of her dreams. He seems like a nice guy, but he is involved in what appears to be a shady business deal. (From what my friend has told me, I believe that he has defrauded a lender out of several hundred thousand dollars.) There is no question that he loves my friend and they are happy together. So what is my problem? It keeps troubling me that I think he is at the very least unethical and, more probably, getting away with a white-collar crime. Is this any of my business? What should I do?
DEAR UNEASY: No, this is none of your business. Some business practices are unethical but, strictly speaking, legal. However, if your friend tells you about a fraud and provides details to you, she is making it your business. You could gently query her: "What you are describing sounds fraudulent. Are you comfortable with this?"
DEAR AMY: "Concerned Friends" are worried about old friends "giving in" to physical ailments. I was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension. I would love to be able to continue working, serving on boards and commissions or singing in the church choir. Rather, now I have a hard time shopping for groceries, doing simple household chores or entertaining friends. Perhaps the judgmental Concerned could offer practical help, allowing their aging friends to find the energy to socialize again. "Giving in" isn't the issue, so much as choosing what must be done, above what one can no longer do.
It's Not Easy
DEAR EASY: I agree that "Concerned Friends" seemed to judge their friends for being unwell.