DEAR AMY: Decades ago, starting when I was 16, I worked at a healthcare facility as an assistant. The doctor, who I revered at the time, would do things to me such as discreetly squeeze my inner legs during patient visits, and hold me in a long embrace after patients left. He eventually invited me to his lake house to baby-sit his children (while his wife was away), but then kissed me and attempted to have sex with me. This kind of behavior continued for the several years I worked for him. He recently reached out to me to wish me a happy 55th birthday. Thanks to the #MeToo movement and conversations with my daughters, I have been processing how inappropriate his actions were and realizing I have lingering emotions (including anger) about the situation. I am wondering if I should respond to this birthday email, and if so, what I should say.
DEAR ME TOO!: Even though it might make things easier for you, I cannot tell you what you should do in this situation.
I will tell you, however, what I think I would do.
Yes, I would respond to this email. And this is what I would try to say:
"Dear Doctor: I don't think I would have contacted you independently to say this, but since you have contacted me, I have decided to respond. I want you to know that I remember like it was yesterday all the times you fondled me, forcibly kissed me and sexually harassed me — while I was a teenager in your employ, and quite helpless to do anything about it.
"I am a parent now. I hope my daughters are never victimized by a person they revere and trust, the way I was. I've tried to empower them to fight back, just as they have encouraged me to fight back now.
"Mainly I want you to know that even though you victimized me at a young age, your sexually aggressive and criminal behavior toward me does not define me, but for me it will always define you.
"So yes, I am having a happy birthday. Thanks for asking."
DEAR AMY: I am a 60-year-old happily married woman who has met a man who is more of a friend to me than my husband is! I have become financially involved with this man, lending him money for a new home and a business. I have romantic feelings for him, which I know will go nowhere, and I'm trying to separate friendship from sexual desire. I'm not worried about the money. I like helping him because he is a deserving person and he is truly responsible and will pay me back when he can. He recently split from his wife, and I don't believe he has feelings for me, but I'm not sure. I guess I'm looking for some feedback from you. What do you think?
DEAR WONDERING: I don't think you are quite as happily married as you might think. Or rather, your husband is not as happily married as he might think.
You don't mention the source or ownership of the funds you are giving to this man, but in most marriages, if a spouse secretly gives (or "lends") substantial sums of money, it is considered at the very least to be a casual violation of their vows. Your secrecy and financial and emotional attachment to another man are definitely a violation of those vows.
I hope you will try to protect yourself and write down these loan agreements and insist that he sign an agreement, including a guarantee to repay (and a date for repayment).
And prepare to kiss that money goodbye (because I'm fairly confident that you will never see it again).
Also ask yourself: If your husband became emotionally entangled with someone and chose to give them money without your knowledge, wouldn't you consider this to be outrageous and a threat to your relationship?
My feedback is that your behavior is buying you a lot of trouble.
DEAR AMY: "Want Them Back" was missing her parents, who were prioritizing the needs of their elder parents over their own grandchildren. I disagree with you calling this person "selfish and self-centered." My spouse and I managed to see our grandkids while we were taking on eldercare. It can be done.
DEAR BEEN THERE| The writer's mother was overwhelmed by taking care of her 95-year-old father; her daughter was adding extra demands.
You should feel compassion toward someone who doesn't have your expansive capacity.