DEAR AMY: I have been dating a guy for about 2 1⁄2 years. A recurring fight that we have is over one of his friends. I get along with all of his friends, and after all this time I consider them to be my friends, too, except for the group’s only female member. She routinely ignores me and makes mean comments about the wives and girlfriends of the guys in the group. She posts pictures of her and my boyfriend on social media all the time and informed him that I was “no fun” because I can’t drink alcohol due to health issues. Last year, while she was staying at our apartment, I awoke to find her in my kitchen, completely topless. This resulted in a huge fight between me and my boyfriend. He accuses me of being oversensitive and jealous. He claims she is just “one of the guys.” I would be upset if a guy was in my kitchen sans pants! Ever since then I have avoided her. I stay at a friend’s house if she is visiting. Now she is moving to our town. I don’t want to be the kind of girlfriend to make ultimatums, but I also don’t want to feel uncomfortable in my own home. How do I set boundaries? Is this something I just need to deal with in my own mind?
DEAR GIRLFRIEND: It is unclear what strange dynamic you are involved in that you would feel threatened by someone’s presence and then choose to leave your own home, and basically turn it over to her, when she decides to visit.
I understand your desire to be the cool “no ultimatum” type of person, but does that also mean that you basically throw her your house keys?
Perhaps a better way to deal with this is to assume that she is toxic to you and to treat her accordingly. This does not mean you’re jealous. It means you’ve had it and have decided to stand up for yourself.
If she trashes you or other women, confront her about it and don’t back down.
If your guy insists on maintaining a friendship with her, then that’s his prerogative. You don’t have to like her, and she does not need to be welcome in your home. If there is discomfort over the fact that you are going to stick up for yourself, then let the discomfort be hers.
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been married for 10 years; I moved to his home from out of state. We have gotten to know a lot of people through clubs and sports. I love to entertain in my home. We have people over for casual potluck parties, pool parties and sit-down dinners at which we provide everything, from baby sitters at our house to valet parking and catered meals. We love it! Guests RSVP, they come on time, are fun to have and appear to enjoy themselves immensely. They call and write thank-you notes! Afterward, when we bump into them, they are friendly. The issue? They never reciprocate! We are not invited to anything. Not at a home, not to join them for dinner out, nada. I’ve never heard of this kind of social behavior. I’m not sure these other people even do other things. Can you help me understand what’s up with this and how to handle it? All I’ve been able to think of is to keep doing what I’m doing and just accept that this is how this group works, but it feels so one-sided that it’s getting embarrassing. What am I missing here?
DEAR SOCIAL: If your parties involve you providing not only meals and entertainment but also baby-sitting and valet parking, then hang on — I’ll be right over.
My theory is that you two might be a little too good at this for your friends to figure out a way to reciprocate. The calls, notes, etc., are their way of trying to express gratitude and hopefully keep those invitations coming. There is really no excuse for you not to receive reciprocal invitations, but consider the idea that you have set the bar very high for others to meet.
DEAR AMY: “Wondering Parent” asked if washing a child’s mouth out with soap is abusive, and you said it is. I disagree. My mother did this several times to me, and while I didn’t do this to my children, I don’t consider it abusive.
DEAR SURVIVED: Many readers agree with you.