DEAR AMY: When I was in high school, many years ago, I dated “Jack.” He is a few years older than me. Apparently Jack (and his family) thought that he and I would marry. I had no such plans, and when I went away to college I met my husband of 25 years. Friends said that Jack had wanted to crash the wedding. After my husband died, Jack contacted me. I answered him because decades had passed and he was married. At one point I invited Jack, his wife and two mutual friends to spend a week with me. At that point it was obvious that I was in a very committed relationship with the man who would be my second husband. Only later did I learn that Jack would have left his marriage if I would have given him any hint that I was interested, which I wasn’t. When I announced my impending marriage, I got a 10-page, rambling letter from Jack about how I had betrayed his love to me. By that time I had bonded with his wife, and I didn’t want to lose a friendship. Now I am wondering whether I should cut it off. I feel as if I’m being “stalked” via email. — Want to Keep Friendship
DEAR WANT: “Jack” sounds a little unhinged — at least when it comes to you. If every encounter you have with him triggers an over-the-top reaction, which sounds (from your reporting) faintly threatening, it sounds best for everyone for you to keep your distance and thus not pursue a friendship. Even asking him to stop would open a dialogue you might not want to have.
DEAR AMY: My fiance and his brother live in the same house. My fiance and one of his brother’s girlfriends (he’s juggling two girlfriends at the moment) got into a fight. This girlfriend let my fiance’s dog into the house while he was gone and didn’t put the dog back into her kennel, leaving the dog to roam the house all night. This dog suffers from severe anxiety and poops when left alone, but finds comfort in her kennel. The girlfriend knows this. She then refused to clean up after the dog. My fiance told her to take responsibility for her actions; she apologized but told him to come take care of his dog and the mess. He did begrudgingly clean the mess — which was the worst imaginable thing I’ve ever seen — but now he’s angry with her and his brother is angry with him for fighting with his girlfriend. The part that bugs me is she just brought a new puppy into the same house. I was tempted to go let her puppy out of her kennel to roam the house for the night and make a mess to prove a point, but I know that’s petty. We are getting married in six months, and my fiance does not want to see this girl at the wedding (if his brother chooses to bring this one), which will cause added strain between him and his brother. I don’t think my fiance should apologize. I support him, but where do we go from here? Should we talk to them about it, let it be, or wait for an apology that won’t come? — Poopy Fight
DEAR FIGHT: My first observation is that your fiance should be responsible for his own dog. Where was he overnight when this happened?
If he left specific instructions with his brother’s girlfriend and she agreed to follow them and didn’t, then she should be held responsible for what happened. If he left the dog overnight and assumed that whoever else was in the house would just take care of it, then this is the inevitable result.
You have no dog in this fight. Stay out of it. If you and your fiance don’t want this woman to attend your wedding, then you should make sure she is not his brother’s “plus-one.” If she is one of two girlfriends the brother is juggling, then she isn’t considered his committed domestic partner and you are not obligated to include her.
DEAR AMY: I was genuinely shocked by your advice to “Wondering,” whose cruel ex-girlfriend’s family put out a fundraising call to help pay for the ex’s funeral. Wondering hadn’t had any contact with this person for 35 years! Where’s the obligation? — Shocked
DEAR SHOCKED: There is no obligation. I urged “Wondering” to explore his desire for revenge, suggesting that living (and living well) is the best revenge of all.