DEAR AMY: A man I was romantically involved with many years ago announced to me that he is making me the beneficiary on his insurance policy. I am fond of him, but could never spend my life with him because he constantly made bad decisions throughout the years. We went our separate ways, but have remained friends. He has since had two children with two different women. These children are in addition to the daughter he and his wife had before I met him. He has a very contentious, messy family, including a sister who behaves like some evil instigator from a bad Lifetime movie. She has sued various family members. Pure lunacy. I told him that I did not want to be his beneficiary. He says that I am the only consistently responsible person he knows. He said he knows I would carry out his last wishes. I know that if he passed before me, these crazy people would make my life hell. I told him emphatically not to put my name on that policy. He says he doesn’t care what I say, he’s doing it anyway. Is there anything I can do, if he goes against my wishes and makes me a beneficiary?
DEAR UNWILLING: It is my understanding that anyone can refuse to be a beneficiary or “waive” a payout, even if you are named on the policy.
If you refuse proceeds, the company behaves as if you had predeceased the policy holder, and the money will pass on to the person named as a “contingent” on the policy, or the next of kin. Double-check the procedure for refusing designation in your state with a local attorney.
Given this man’s personal situation, even designating next of kin and carrying out his “last wishes” might be challenging, and you are wise to avoid this mess.
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been through a lot together. We have both wanted to have children for several years. I have health issues that are complicating getting pregnant. I have confided in my best friend about my issues, fears and dreams of having children. She has always said that I should wait, giving reason after reason why it would be a bad idea to get pregnant right now. Well, guess what? My friend got pregnant. After telling me I should wait and saying that she herself was going to wait! She is also temporarily raising a relative’s child. I was truly hurt. After trying and trying, and with her discouraging me from trying, she casually just blurts it out one evening. Just two days earlier, I thought I was pregnant, but the test confirmed I wasn’t. I told her about this, and two days later she announces her pregnancy! Now she acts like she is an expert on raising children. I feel like since she announced she was pregnant she has been catty, mean and distant. I recently received an invitation to her baby shower. I am not sure I truly want to go. I love her and her family, but now she feels like a complete stranger. Should I just chalk up her behavior to hormones? Should I go to the shower despite how I am feeling? Should I try to discuss this with her?
Baby Blues in PA
DEAR BLUES: It seems that you both backed out of your tacit agreement not to try to get pregnant. Either that, or your friend had an unplanned pregnancy (you imply that you’ve been trying).
You must also acknowledge that if she is currently raising a relative’s child, her head is in parenting mode. It is possible that her behavior is due to hormones, but so might yours. She should respond to you with compassion, but you should also be honest about your own complicated feelings.
It makes sense that you might want to avoid this baby shower; women struggling with fertility also sometimes struggle with the concept of other people having babies. If you decide to skip it, tell your friend that you hope she understands, but these things are just too hard right now.
DEAR AMY: I felt so sorry for “Lost Mother,” who lost one baby to miscarriage and was struggling with grief and guilt with her other child, many years later. Our culture does not deal with grief well. I hope she gets help now; I think she really needs it.
DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree.