DEAR AMY: I have a problem. My wife left me because she couldn’t take life with me anymore. Honestly, I don’t blame her. She basically stopped talking to me. One day I decided to text her from a different phone number. I pretended I was someone else and she started texting with me, not knowing that it’s me. I’m enjoying our conversation, and so is she. I think she likes the person she’s talking to, but it’s me, the person she hates. I can tell she’s falling for this person, but I can’t tell her it’s me or she would hate me even more. It was not my intention to have her fall for me as someone else, and I don’t want to break her heart, so what can I do not to hurt her? I don’t want her to be mad at me. The stuff I told her as someone else is all stuff I told her when we were married, but I guess it sounds different coming from this other person. What should I do now?
DEAR SCARED: First of all, congratulations for reproducing the basic plot of many timeless stories — from Shakespeare to “You’ve Got Mail” — in your actual life. To follow through on this plot line, in the movie version, your wife would be seduced to the point where she (or you) would urge a meeting in real life. The meeting would be on a bridge, or at the top of the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building. She would see you, you’d embrace, and she would confess that she was hoping all along that you were the mysterious person at the other end of the texts.
But alas, real life does not work out as neatly as our screenplay would suggest. The unfortunate fact is that what you have done is fraudulent, deceptive and cruel. She will feel manipulated, and she will likely be very upset.
You should tell the truth now, and do so in the most charming way you can manage. Ask her to forgive you, and ask if she would be willing to do openly what she has been doing with your alter-ego.
DEAR AMY: I am an 18-year-old woman, going into college this fall. My older sister is going to get married this September. I was going to be a bridesmaid, but this all changed when she decided that because I wouldn’t allow her to have her wedding the weekends of my prom or high school graduation she would demote me in favor of my stepsisters. Recently, I was put to the task of videotaping the wedding. I’m fine with this job. A few days ago my sister called ranting about being unable to afford flowers for the wedding, I responded, “If you stopped spending so much money on things like a new flat-screen, cellphone, and cigarettes, you might be able to afford the flowers.” She responded with very rude and hurtful things. Later, after talking to both my mom and my stepmom, I decided to text her and tell her that if she kept up her attitude, I would be staying at my university instead of coming to the wedding, and she would have to find another desperate sibling to videotape her doomed marriage. She told me that I’m an embarrassment to the family. Was I too harsh, or was I doing the right thing?
DEAR SISTER: You and your sister communicate in a way that could best be called “toxic.” You actually seem fairly proud of the things you’ve said to her, but yes, your statements are harsh. Referring to a person’s marriage as “doomed,” is worse than harsh — even if the statement is true.
It would be very easy for you to stay on campus and skip this wedding, but showing up for people during milestone events is important. You know this because you valued your own prom and graduation enough not to want your sister’s wedding to interfere.
DEAR AMY: “Going Crazy” shared the story of her sexual assault and abortion on Facebook. Family members overreacted to it. She should write her future mother-in-law a good old-fashioned letter, thanking her for raising such a wonderful person whose love and support allowed her to heal enough to be able to share her traumatic experience so that other abused women know they are not alone. It’ll be hard to gossip about a response like that.
DEAR READER: I like it.