DEAR AMY: My wife and I have been happily married for over 20 years. We have a question about how to handle an issue with some friends of ours. "Jake" is 56 and "Lucy" is 52. My wife and I are 50 and 53. Both Jake and Lucy are getting divorced after having been married to their exes for over 25 years each. (Jake had a very poor sex life during his marriage.) Jake and Lucy have been dating for a couple of months now. They are very into each other. My wife and I think this is great, but we are both uncomfortable with their behavior. Lucy shares far too many intimate details with my wife about her sex life. My wife says it makes her feel uneasy. Jake does the same thing with me, but to a much lesser degree. Another problem is that they are all over each other like slutty teenagers in public. It gets even worse when the four of us are hanging out in our backyard. We totally support public displays of affection when done with class, but we draw the line at borderline sex acts in our kitchen right in front of us — when the four of us are conversing over a bottle of wine. PDAs should always be classy, and not gross and slutty. Do you have any advice on how to politely ask Jake and Lucy to cut out the pornography and set some limits on what are appropriate actions when they are together in our presence?
Blinded by the Sight
DEAR BLINDED: I'm not sure what kind of PDA you consider "classy" versus "slutty," but I'm going to guess that even though it's hard to define, you know it when you see it.
It is common to overshare when you're in the beginning stages of a compelling emotional/sexual relationship, whether you are a teenager or a middle-age divorcee. And the problem with couples behaving this way publicly is that it completely excludes others, turning witnesses into an audience.
If pornographic displays have erupted in your backyard, your kitchen, or elsewhere on your property, you can good-naturedly say a version of: "Hey, don't make me get out the hose," or "Whoa, get a room, you two!"
Privately, you and your wife should honestly tell your (respective) friends, "We are so happy for you. It is obvious that you are really into each other, but some of the conversation about your sexual relationship and some of the more graphic public displays of affection are making me uncomfortable."
DEAR AMY: I have drawn and painted for most of my life. I recently drew a picture of my beautiful daughter. She seemed to be delighted when she saw it. I did not hear much from her about it, so I asked her how her husband liked it. She told me that he said he thought the drawing looked like me. Not a very flattering comment, but honest. I decided I would like the drawing back since it pleased me, and they did not seem to want to hang it. She said she wanted to keep it. Then they put it in their guesthouse, which is separate from their residence. I am OK with the fact they do not like the drawing. Not everyone likes the same type of art, but I would like to have my drawing back, since it means more to me than to them. Is it a problem if I ask for my drawing back?
DEAR ARTIST: You should not ask for the drawing back. You should not cast aspersions on your daughter, who received the drawing and has hung it in their guesthouse, where others will see it.
When your son-in-law remarked that the drawing looked like you, it doesn't seem to have occurred to you that you and your daughter resemble one another, and that this might be a thoughtful (and flattering) comment.
You should not ask for this gift back. Furthermore, you are way too sensitive to share your art with others. I hope you will enjoy your hobby privately.
DEAR AMY: "I Like Being Alone" was planning some hikes at nearby national parks and didn't want to invite her co-worker, due to her dog's bad habits. She might have an easy out … most national parks do not allow dogs!
Like to Hike
DEAR LIKE TO HIKE: Many readers pointed this out. My own research shows that different parks have different rules: Check NPS.gov for specifics.