Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: My parents are entering the retirement phase of life and they have enlisted the help of a financial planner. The planner has shared some personal information, including telling them where he lived and the identity of some of his neighbors. Now my parents and I are completely distraught. It just so happens that his next-door neighbor was a minister in our church community who committed atrocious offenses against young people and special-needs people. This minister was forced to resign from the ministerial association; however, he is not registered as a sex offender. A young relative of ours was someone he tried to victimize, so we know about this first-hand. My family and I have discussed what we should divulge to this acquaintance, since he is the father of two pre-teen sons who reside at his residence. My mother wanted to tell him to “be careful,” but she doesn’t want to cause a neighborhood riot. We want to tell this person so he can protect his children. What can we do?
To Tell or Not to Tell
DEAR TO TELL: You and/or your parents should tell this person the truth — that you have first-hand knowledge that this former minister abused his position of trust, and that he was dismissed from the church because of accusations of misdeeds against young people.
I am wondering why this person was merely tossed out of the church without being successfully prosecuted. He seems to have moved to another community where it’s possible that people don’t know about his behavior. Given the terrible history of clergy abuse, with examples of abusers simply moving and continuing to abuse people, its best if this person’s neighbor was made aware of his history. What he chooses to do with this knowledge is his business.
DEAR AMY: My husband has a hobby that I am not interested in, but it is a hobby that can be more enjoyable to do with another person. He recently began participating in this activity with a young woman who lives nearby. I was unaware of this arrangement until I saw them together afterward. My husband says he didn’t tell me because he was afraid I would get upset. They have a scheduled day each week they plan to do this activity together. I am having a hard time dealing with this on many levels, including the way it was arranged, the regularity of it and the fact that the other person involved is a woman. We each have many activities we enjoy but not all of them involve us as a couple. We seem to lack time for just having conversations. I am feeling very insecure about this arrangement. What should I do?
DEAR WORRIED: Your husband knew this would be a problem for you, and this is why he chose to hide it from you. This is how children behave when they don’t want to get caught.
You say that you and your husband don’t take the time to be together, and yet I wonder if you would be OK if he chose to pursue this same hobby with a male friend. The marital togetherness argument seems to be a red herring to cover for your discomfort.
If you truly feel that you two don’t take enough time to be together, then you should consider changes you might make in order to make connecting easier for both of you.
It doesn’t sound like you are trying to control your husband to an extreme extent; he should respect your comfort level concerning the company he keeps when he’s not at home.
DEAR AMY: I guess I would be a bad parent because I have the same concern as “Desperate Parent,” the Spanish major’s parent who wanted their daughter to stick with a practical major. Most of the people I knew at the U of W did know what they wanted to do, and looked for a degree in a real major — one designed to be the bedrock of a career. Those who did not know were in programs like English or poly-sci or Spanish, where they marked time while they tried to figure out what to do with their lives. When those latter students graduate, they are not going to find many employment doors open, and they will be repaying loans from low salaries and living at home. There is a real penalty for not seizing life.
DEAR MIKE: Thank you.
Amy Dickinson, English major, Georgetown University.