DEAR AMY: I’m a 20-year-old girl. I started working at a restaurant and clicked with “Steve,” one of the other servers. He’s 30. We quickly started texting daily. He said he had a girlfriend, so I figured we were just sharing friendly chitchat. He was always complaining about how annoying and stupid she was. Fast-forward a year and his girlfriend cheats on him, so he comes to me looking for help. I was a sophomore in college at the time and had no idea how to handle the situation, but I was there for him. They broke up and he moved in with his parents. He was devastated and determined to win her over. Eventually she came crawling back to him. He proposed without telling anyone, leaving his closest friends to find out from her Facebook announcement. I pretended to be happy for him, even though I thought this was the stupidest decision ever. He still continued to complain about her, nonstop. A few months after they got engaged we had a party at my apartment. Heavy drinking was involved and somehow Steve ended up in my bed. He left the next morning before we could talk. After a few days of silence I said to him, “You cheated on your fiancee with me and you don’t think that’s a problem?” He was like, “Don’t make me feel guilty.” I cracked and told him that he shouldn’t be getting married and that he was settling for her. I sort of feel like an idiot for falling in love with him. I don’t want to lose him as a friend because I’ve never had someone understand me as completely as he does. I just need some advice on what to do.
DEAR NOT SETTLED: Wait — let me get my megaphone. (I know I’ve got it here somewhere...)
Please hear this: Yes, “settling” is happening. But you are the primary settler. You’ve packed your covered wagon and have traveled into the realm of 30-year-old waiters with no conscience — in order to settle. Please, save your feelings of love for someone who isn’t such a tool.
Steve does not deserve you. His fiancee is likely a perfect match for him. You can do better, and you will do better.
By the time you’re “Steve’s” age, you will remember this episode with a sigh.
Honestly, the very idea that you even want to preserve a friendship with this guy is something you will one day laugh about (hopefully alongside a better class of person). I recommend a cordial coolness during your restaurant shifts.
DEAR AMY: My last two relationships have totally done me in. I am through with dating. After a very long marriage that ended in divorce, I engaged in a relationship that lasted for 17 years. After we split (he, too, cheated on me), I spent the next eight years in single bliss. Soon, a friend from school contacted me and when we got together we enjoyed spending time talking and reminiscing about mutual friends. After a few years of that, I discovered that this man was also someone I needed to lose. Now I walk around without coloring my hair and never wear makeup because I am not trying to impress anyone. I truly do enjoy my singleness, but sometimes I feel I would still like to have a companion in my life to grow old with. How do I overcome my distrust and general wariness of men?
DEAR BURNED: Overcoming your distrust in men is a process. Anxiety about growing old alone doesn’t provide an ideal motivation for trust-building.
I’d like to address your growing-old-with-a-companion issue. Why not grow old with a woman/friend/companion? Perhaps you have a compatible friend who is at your approximate stage of life, who would like to try an experiment in cohousing. Having a housemate to share expenses and experiences with might be the perfect gray-hair having, no makeup wearing, non-romance busting solution for you.
DEAR AMY: “Stuck at the Back” complained about being seated in the back of the reception hall at her cousin’s wedding. I’m an old fogey, but unless things have changed a lot, the bride’s family pays for the reception and determines seating. So, the cousin might not have had any say at all in where her relatives might be seated.
DEAR FOGEY: Also, sometimes people simply make mistakes. It is rude, however, to ask the bridal couple to do something about seating during their own wedding reception.