DEAR AMY: I'm getting married this winter, and two months ago my grandmother informed me (without asking first) that she had purchased a honeymoon package for me and my fiancee. She apparently purchased this package via the phone, and has no documentation as to where/when/how long this honeymoon package is. She told me she received a letter a little over a month ago that told her the "vacation package" information packet would be mailed to her within two weeks. That time has obviously passed, and still no information. My grandmother is known to fall for scams, and she has purchased many bogus time share properties from telemarketers. I don't want to keep bothering her over what is possibly a generous gift, but I also don't want to find out at the last minute that I'm having my honeymoon somewhere in North Dakota in the middle of February. What should I do?
DEAR ANXIOUS: I am receiving an increasing number of questions from people who are worried their older relatives are falling for scams. Obviously you (or another family member who is close to your grandmother) should attempt to intervene in order to try and safeguard her from purchasing nonexistent goods or services. You should immediately offer to take this off her hands and contact the company yourself.
Let's assume that your grandmother has invested in another sham vacation package. Plan your own trip (on your own dime). Most hotels offer full refunds on booked rooms with relatively little notice. If your grandmother's trip package somehow miraculously materializes, you should choose between them and take whichever honeymoon you want to take.
Your grandmother didn't advise you about this before making plans on your behalf. You and your bride should thank her for the gift with sincere appreciation and tell her that you'll do your best to take advantage of it, but that you might also have to make other plans.
DEAR AMY: Recently a close friend and her boyfriend visited my family and me. During the visit my friend casually asked about my best friend, "Shelley." We see each other only a few times a year. As I was filling in my visiting friend about Shelley's adorable new apartment she abruptly asked if she was still sleeping with the same (married) man she's been seeing for years. I was completely dumbfounded and shocked. My visiting friend felt awful that she outed Shelley and said she assumed I already knew. I feel terrible and wonder why Shelley didn't tell me about this relationship. It seems dishonest of me not to bring this up with her, and I've always been honest with her. Should I tell her I know? I don't want to throw my visiting friend under the bus for letting it slip. She feels terrible. I am feeling so torn between being honest and upfront about knowing and being respectful of Shelley's privacy. If she wanted me to know, she would have told me, right?
DEAR UPSET: Your visiting friend might have learned about this from someone other than "Shelley," so don't assume there is a back-door intimacy between the two friends that didn't include you.
You should be as honest as you can with Shelley and own up to your own conflicted response. Let her tell you whatever she wants you to know -- and respect her choice not to discuss it, if she doesn't want to. Having an affair with a married person by necessity involves separation and secrecy. It affects all other relationships. Shelley (and you) will have to navigate through it in order to have a healthy friendship moving forward.
DEAR AMY: "Stuck" reported that his wife "had become" verbally abusive to the family. This implies that she was not always this way. She should have a medical checkup. Many conditions can cause outbursts. She might have a brain tumor.
DEAR READER: Every reader responding to this question from "Stuck" suggests there must be a medical or mental health reason for bullying her husband and children. Readers are seldom so understanding when responding to reports of a man who is verbally abusive to his family.