Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: My girlfriend and I had a falling out last month. She told me that she didn’t like the fact that I didn’t seem appreciative of her and that I wasn’t being a “man.” I was between jobs, and it was hard to find something that fit me, so money was a problem and I couldn’t provide. This made me a tad depressed because I was not fulfilling my duties. When we broke up, the main reason was because she caught me texting other women and asking them about having sexual relations. We finally decided to talk about it, and she let me know that she had a one-night stand last weekend, after getting drunk. She won’t apologize for it. Honestly, all I really ask for is an apology. Is it my fault that she has done that? Should I just get over it because I sort of did the same thing? Should I try to work things out with her?

Heartsick

DEAR HEARTSICK: The way you two are both behaving is what happens when people don’t grow up, but merely grow older. It’s like you are flailing around, acting out all of your worst ideas. And then you wonder why your life is so messy.

Your job is not to provide for your girlfriend (unless you two have a child together).

Your girlfriend’s choice to hook up with someone else is not your fault or your responsibility. Her choice to tell you about it is just mean and immature retaliation.

Your choice to try to sleep with other people is not your girlfriend’s fault or responsibility. It is an immature reaction to feeling “unmanly.”

If you want to reconcile, you could start things off by offering your own sincere apology for your own behavior. Do not blame your behavior on her. Take responsibility.

This might inspire her to offer her own explanation and apology. Don’t reconcile unless you completely clear the air.

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DEAR AMY: After 40 years of enduring put-downs and false accusations, I let my controlled anger have sway over a family matter that was close to my heart with my daughter and her husband. Because of my anger (which I expressed through e-mails and phone calls), they decided to bring silence upon us. This has been going on for nearly two years. Before that, our daughter had always had a harmonious relationship with us. Her husband is from a dysfunctional family. Within their marriage, two of his siblings have committed suicide and the third was on that route. Our son-in-law’s parents were at one time on the road to divorce. In spite of apologies for my flare-up, there has been no response to phone calls, e-mails or letters. Last year they informed all their children (six adults) not to have anymore contact with us (including the great-grandchildren). Three of the grandchildren have not (and will not) obey their parents’ wishes. The other three have gone with the wishes of their parents. We are both in our 90s. I am a former schoolteacher and principal and love children. This really hurts. I realize there is not much we can do, but what do you think of this kind of treatment, especially to elderly, caring, loving grandparents?

Wounded

DEAR WOUNDED: I think this treatment is unfortunate. I also think it is quite telling that you are so judgmental of your son-in-law’s “dysfunctional” family.

How is yours functioning, by the way?

My point is that there are no perfect families. We are all just spinning in our orbits, making mistakes, making messes and trying to clean up after ourselves.

I hope that you have done everything possible to own up to your own behavior and any role you have played in this estrangement.

Treasure those children and grandchildren you do have a relationship with. Don’t involve them in this estrangement and don’t ask them to take sides.

DEAR AMY: “Not a Fan” wrote about aggressive Little League coaches. Those coaches should be reported to the league officials. A winning coach on a second-grade baseball team in our town was relentless at loudly humiliating children on other teams. He was eventually banned from coaching and attending games. My son was 7 years old, and quit baseball for a year over this humiliation. When he was in fourth grade, he wanted to try baseball again, and he enjoyed playing for several years.

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Liz

DEAR LIZ: I’m glad he went back to the game.