Spouse's ethical choice affects a long friendship
DEAR AMY: I have been friends with a woman for more than 30 years. She is wonderful. Her first husband cheated on her, they divorced, and she quickly married another man within a year. I have been trying to be supportive of her choice in mates. Her husband, "Jake," works in social work, as do I. Occasionally we see one another at trainings and professional events. Recently he told me he was suspended from his job. The reason was that he did not report that a minor on his caseload told him she was being sexually abused. When he first told me this, he took ownership, and said he had made a grave mistake. However, over time, and through investigations, his story has changed. My friend is taking his side, saying he shouldn't be responsible and that he is a wonderful social worker, which he is not. Proof of this is that his license to practice was revoked. The issue is twofold: One, this guy is still going to professional events, paying out of pocket and not telling anyone about his license being revoked. Two: I'm just not sure I can be around someone whose ethics were so poor that they didn't report a sexual abuse situation, and then lied about it later. I would hate to give up a close friendship over this jerk. Do I point out how the story changed, and how sick it is that he is still posing as a social worker when he has no license? This just makes me so sad. As social workers, we carry a HUGE responsibility, and there is little room to mess up other people's lives. Help!
DEAR SOCIAL WORKER: It's not obvious (to me) that "Jake" is posing as a social worker — only that he is attending professional events, presumably to network. If it is obvious — to you — that he is misrepresenting himself, then you should definitely do something about it. While he might be lying by omission (allowing people to believe that he is still licensed), presumably if he were being considered for a new job, or being brought off suspension for a related job, his professional issues would surface.
If you are aware of a professional and ethical reason to out him to colleagues, then you should. You should also be honest with him regarding your opinion about his professional behavior.
You don't need to give up a long-standing friendship over this. You should assume that your friend will support her husband's version of events. That's what spouses try mightily to do. However, she should not insist that you buy her husband's line.
If she prompts you, you can state: "I've shared my concerns about this with Jake." Otherwise, you can decline to discuss it.
DEAR AMY: I need some relationship advice. A girl I've known for two years now and have developed feelings for ended things with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, in an effort to get over her, just before I became aware of her breakup, I asked her to set me up with her friend. I've revealed my feelings for her, and today I repeated these feelings. She didn't give me any type of answer, but she didn't leave, either. In fact, after I made my admission, we even hung out for a while — as we've done for the past two years. Does that mean she may have feelings for me as well?
DEAR CHEF: My official "Ask Amy" Magic 8 Ball declares: "It is definitely possible."
You have indicated your feelings for this person twice, and so now it is time for you to be cool. Back off a little bit while she figures out how she feels and what she might want to do about it.
She will telegraph any romantic interest in you by lingering in your presence, initiating small talk and asking if you want to hang out. She will also randomly touch your arm, for no apparent reason.
If you don't come on too strong, you will create the space for her to act according to her own desires. And then you'll know.
DEAR AMY: I wish you had suggested that "Trying to do the Right Thing" should see a lawyer with her serious inheritance question. Why don't you send readers to true experts?!
DEAR UPSET: This was the final phrase in my answer: "...you should consult with a professional estate planner to determine what is legal, fair, allowable and taxable."