Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: Several years ago, “Steve,” a college acquaintance of my husband’s, made contact with us after many years, asking if his daughter “Mandy” could stay with us on her way to her new college, which is near where we live. We gladly opened our home to her on a couple of occasions and enjoyed her company. Then the dad started inviting himself to stay the night as he drove through to visit his hometown or to see her. After several visits we realized he was using our house as his own personal hotel. He has never grown up and continues to drink like a partying college student. He is loud, self-engrossed and overbearing. On one occasion, he brought a friend with him who was so rude I almost threw them both out of the house. Once when my husband was going to be out-of-town at the same time he was passing through I recommended a hotel nearby but he scoffed at that and acted offended. I didn’t let him stay and we didn’t hear from him for some time. We have since lied about being home or ignored his requests to stop over. We received a Christmas card this year written by his wife (who by the way is lovely, but enables him) that said they hoped to connect with us “if we wanted.” Well, we truly don’t. Steve’s wife and daughter are so nice, but we have had enough of him. The only option we see is to ignore her card and hope they get the message. Any advice? — No Room at the Inn
DEAR NO ROOM: “Steve” is the person your husband knew in college. This family’s presence in your life is due to the relationship (such as it is) between the two men. The family’s absence from your life is due to his behavior — not theirs.
And yet even now you are trying to protect this man from the consequences of his behavior.
I’m not suggesting you offer up chapter and verse to this family about why he is no longer welcome to spend the night with you — nor should you lie about not being home. But you should say, “We’re sorry not to see you, but it just didn’t work out having ‘Steve’ spend the night during his trips. Let us know if you’re passing through and it would be great to catch up, and of course if ‘Mandy’ needs anything at all, we hope she’ll call. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know her.”
DEAR AMY: This is in response to “Awkward in MO,” who had experimented with lesbianism and decided it wasn’t for her, but her boyfriend took it pretty badly when he found out. She should tell him that it is his manliness that inspires her devotion to him. That, no doubt, is true, and straight men need to be assured in their masculinity. It should be a point of pride for him that he captured the heart of a woman who could have gone either way. She should tell him that he set her “straight.” — Love The Men in Colorado
DEAR LOVE THE MEN: I would have made all of your suggestions to “Awkward in MO,” except that they seem to have been retrieved from an episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
“Lesbianism” isn’t a thing. Same-sex attraction is not a political party or belief system. Experiencing is different from experimenting.
I also don’t believe that straight men need propping up from women in order to feel masculine. Relationships should not be seen as contests of gender, identity or sexual attraction, but as a series of choices.
DEAR AMY: A recent letter from “Concerned Wife” sure sounded familiar. Her husband’s long-lost brother had suddenly reappeared after several decades after their mother’s death. She described him as “slippery,” in that he would never say where he was staying. That couple had better keep good track of all of their accounts. When my slippery long-lost brother blew into town, he managed to steal one of our checkbooks; by the time he left, he had stolen his late mother’s Social Security number and set up accounts in her name. You can imagine what a heartache this was — as well as being a nightmare that took us several years to resolve. I think when someone has stayed away and out of touch for decades and then suddenly returns with no logical explanation, it should cause everyone to be extremely cautious. I wish we had been. — Wary
DEAR WARY: Yes, your situation sounds like a nightmare. I’m glad you finally woke up.