DEAR AMY: My partner and I have been together for 16 years. About a year ago a mutual "friend" decided to end his friendship with us. He then tried to spread lies about us to our other friends in an attempt to turn them away from us as well. This didn't work. I accept the fact that some people don't want to be friends with me, but I cannot forgive this individual for his tactics. Over a year has now passed, and he contacted my partner and asked for forgiveness. My partner was quick to forgive, and asked me to do the same. I have never felt such resentment and disgust toward anyone in my life. It is not my place to dictate to my partner who he can be friends with, but I told him I will never forgive this individual and want him to stay out of my life. Without telling me, my partner invites him over several times every week to watch TV, drink beer and smoke weed. This obnoxious individual has even started just showing up at our door unannounced. After acknowledging how rude and disrespectful this individual is, my partner had the nerve to tell me I'm being overly sensitive and to "just get over it." I don't know what to do and I need your enlightenment.
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to like -- or spend any time with -- the person who has wronged you. I think you should explore forgiveness -- on your own behalf.
No one wants to come home to the presence of a despised person in their living room. I wonder if this is your partner's (very inconsiderate, inappropriate and aggressive) response to your refusal to forgive.
In a healthy partnership, the answer to a relationship challenge should never be, "Tough luck. Just get over it." If your guy wants to hang, drink, and smoke with this person, that's his business. But does he need to rub your nose in this friendship -- in your home? You two could negotiate this by agreeing on a reasonable number of nights each week when you wouldn't be exposed to this person you despise, but -- it is obviously not about him. This is about your relationship with your partner, and how entrenched you both are. Use this as a reason to see a couple's counselor.
DEAR AMY: I have been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half. He is a good man but is very private and does not often talk about his family or feelings. I respect this because I tend to be the same way. The one thing that has been causing me anxiety is the fact that his mother died about six years ago, and he absolutely never talks about it. He did mention that she passed when we first started dating, and we never spoke of it again. I want to be able to ask questions and know more about her, but I also want to respect his privacy. I have had dreams about her, and really want to know more about the woman that raised my wonderful boyfriend. Should I say something to him, or wait for him to open up when he feels ready?
DEAR CLUELESS: Asking challenging questions respectfully -- and receiving honest answers -- is one true path to intimacy. There is nothing "wrong" with being shy, private or simply unsure, but honesty is the primary and absolute relationship requirement. Honesty should trump your hesitation.
This is a tough topic -- for both of you -- but your curiosity is completely understandable. Tell him exactly what you say in your question to me: "I want to respect your privacy, but I also really want to know more about the woman who raised you. Can you tell me about her?"
DEAR AMY: You frequently field questions from people who behave very poorly to their daughter or son-in-law. I'd like to offer my point of view about this: Being nasty toward the parent (or future parent) of your grandchildren is really dumb.
DEAR READER: Thank you. This is wise advice.