Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I have been with my boyfriend for about eight years. The other night we went out to dinner with my parents. One of their friends came over to the table to say hello. The conversation came around to this elderly friend's age. She is 80 years old. My boyfriend asked her "if she still fools around." We were all so embarrassed. He showed no respect to me, my parents or to their friend. He does not think he said anything wrong. He thinks it is funny. He often talks about our sex life in a social gathering, even though he can see this makes people very uncomfortable. I feel this is a private topic. How do I handle this if it happens again?

Not Amused

DEAR NOT: In addition to being rude, coarse and disrespectful, your boyfriend is also committing a crime against comedy. Maybe he is a full-time jerk, or maybe he is one of those people who gets nervous in social situations and that's when the "Jackass" gene surfaces. Either way, he is responsible for his actions.

But you are choosing to spend time with him. What's up with that? The next time he calls you out publicly by embarrassing you, you should tell him, "I've asked you many times not to do this," and you should leave. Don't demand apologies or explanations. Just keep your distance. If he is capable of change, this might inspire him to dig deep and redefine his humor.

DEAR AMY: My brother is driving me crazy. His fiancee of six years (and the mother of his son) dumped him. She kicked him out of the house he had been paying for (and this is not the first time). He moved into a low-grade apartment. He could afford better but is "waiting." He insists his fiancee is going to want him back and he wants to be available when that happens. He won't date other people or go out with friends. He does attend church, volunteers and goes to the gym. I worry that he wants to express his love to her by waiting for her. I ask him why and he just says you can't pick who you love. "It's in God's hands" is his quote. He had been married and divorced before so this is not his first breakup. I understand six years is a long time. This woman has moved another man into the home. How can he still love her? What if she takes him back and breaks his heart again? He is so great -- he should be saving himself for his future wife, not this woman! Any advice on stopping what he's doing?

Frustrated Brother in Atlanta

DEAR FRUSTRATED: This might sound strange to you -- or off point -- but YOU are the one who needs to make some changes.

Your brother is an adult. He is making choices you don't like. In that regard you may have this in common with other family members who he might also have disappointed. But it is his right to mess up his life. Is he coming to you for help? Is he saying to you, "Bro, what's wrong with me? What should I do next?" No, he's saying, "I'm doing what I'm doing and it's in God's hands." When someone determined to make choices you don't like says this, you can respond, "Well, Amen, brother. Good luck to you." Your job is to manage your own disappointment and your feelings -- not run his life for him.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

DEAR AMY: "Frustrated Working Wife" has a husband who is insisting that he will retire on his own timeline. She resented still having to work while he was retired. I appreciated your answer, especially when you said that if she is not yet of retirement age, then she should keep working. When the balance in their household changes, I hope he will step up and take over some of the homemaking duties I assume she has been doing up to now.

Still Working

DEAR WORKING: It's a pretty thought, but unfortunately I think these two might have some problems that extend beyond their workdays.