Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: About three months ago, I got out of an abusive relationship. My ex attempted to kill me and made threats on my life afterward. The police did nothing, as they saw no injuries on my neck. I was in fear for my life, and remain fearful. He sent me a message about two weeks ago reminiscing about our times together. I replied, telling him he was lucky he wasn’t arrested. I told him to leave me alone. He agreed. This behavior (minus the physical violence) is a pattern of his. He will break things off with me when I get too close to him. It is as if he wants to prove I am wrong to have feelings for him. The only feelings I have for him these days are feelings of regret. I notice he is still on online dating sites (which was how we met). Do I have an obligation to let these women know who he really is and what he did to me? And should I let his ex-wives (who he seems to have revolving-door relationships with) know what he did to me? He also drives drunk and at times his young child is in the car with him. What should I do? — Angry
DEAR ANGRY: You should not be in touch with your abusive ex. At all. This “no-contact” rule includes responding to any messages he might send to you. Do not look him up on online dating sites and do not contact his ex-wives (they already know him). There are websites where people can post warnings about “bad,” cheating or abusive ex-partners. I don’t endorse this idea, but you can look into it and see what your comfort level is regarding making this choice.
If you know someone personally who is dating or considering dating your ex, then you should definitely warn her that he physically abused you. Be aware that people receive and ignore these warnings all the time, however. If you personally witnessed your ex driving drunk with his child in the car, you should notify the girl’s other parent. Otherwise, all of your effort should be devoted to dealing with your own anger and hurt — and moving forward into healthy relationships.
DEAR KATE: It recently came to my attention that my aunt did not receive the thank-you card for her wedding gift she gave us. My mother told me my aunt mentioned a few times that this bothered her, but my mother forgot to tell me. I have been married for 12 years. All this time, my aunt has been stewing over the very nice bowl that was never appreciated. Fortunately, I kept a record of every gift and thank-you card sent; and so I know one was sent to her. I assume it was lost. My concern is that now I have two bowls by the same maker and I’ve forgotten which one she gave us. How do I write a sincere thank-you note after all this time has passed, and not throw my mom under the bus? It really was an honest mistake, and cards do get lost! — Twelve Years The Blushing Bride
DEAR BRIDE: First, an observation: You have addressed this note to “Kate.” My name is Amy.
I point this out because — people do make mistakes. Mail gets mis-addressed and/or lost. So maybe you made a mistake, or the postal service made a mistake. Your mother made one, too, when she neglected to pass along your aunt’s concern.
Being transparent about this should make it all go away.
I’ll get you started: “Dear Aunt, I recently learned from Mother that you never received our thank-you note for the wonderful bowl you gave to us for our wedding! I’m horrified that the note went astray, but this gives me a chance to tell you again, all these years later, how lovely it is and how much we appreciate it — and you. Your gift to us is a wonderful reminder of your thoughtfulness. Please forgive us for this breach. I am sincerely embarrassed.”
DEAR READERS: As we plunge through yet another hectic holiday season — at the end of a very challenging year — I hope we will all take some extra time to hold one another close, to celebrate our relationships, and to reconcile with people with whom we’ve lost touch. I sincerely hope that each of us receives our hearts’ desire. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.