DEAR AMY: I recently left a relationship with a man who was emotionally and financially controlling, and frequently verbally aggressive toward me, complete with expletives and a physical threat. After we broke up, he would send me endless text messages and emails, calling me an evil whore. Less than a week after I ended things, my best friend of six years (and current roommate) had sex with him. I came home unannounced to find him in our house; this led me to have an anxiety attack. She tends to get blinders when it comes to male attention, and he can be very charming (and manipulative) when he wants to be. She’s hanging out with him 24/7. I do not feel comfortable. I’d like to have her in my life, but honestly — I feel betrayed. Is there any way to salvage this friendship, while keeping my ex out of the picture?
DEAR DISCOURAGED: I can’t imagine why you would want to continue a friendship with someone who regularly and willfully puts you in the path of someone who has been so mean to you. Your roommate has made a choice. You should be honest with her about the impact her choice has on you.
Don’t expect her to break up with him, but do your best to avoid both of them.
DEAR AMY: My wife and I love to have people over. We often offer to host parties for friends’ birthdays, kid’s sports teams, etc. I believe that when you host a party, you really should not expect your guests to do anything except show up and have a good time. There are times when people offer to bring something, and we either accept the offer or not. My wife gets very upset if guests do not jump out of their chairs to help put food out or take out the trash during the party. She gets so upset that the party becomes a source of stress for her. She will make it quite obvious that she is unhappy during the party. She will even start cleaning up in the middle of the party to “get a head start,” but to me that is telling your guests it is time to go. After the party she will complain about “all of these lazy people,” and about how rude people are. I believe that when you offer to host a party, you should take care of everything and if you want help, ask for it, but I do not expect people to come and work. What’s your take?
Jim in Virginia
DEAR JIM: I’m with you, overall. But this probably won’t help to solve the problem in your household.
So here’s a little admission of my own: Not too long ago, a family member of mine pointed out that while I seem to enjoy being generous, I would then complain about the personal toll and stress of being a perpetual hostess.
Basically, the message was, “If you’re going to offer, then don’t complain when people take you up on it. Otherwise, don’t offer!”
Your wife is obviously stressed by the effort these large gatherings require. You should tell her that because she always seems so unhappy during and after these parties, it might be best to take a break from large-scale entertaining.
Although it is always polite for a guest to offer their help, a host should not expect guests to leap up, unbidden, to clear and clean.
The next time you host a gathering, you should tell her that she will be your guest and that you will handle the hosting duties. And then — do it. Ask a guest (or your children) for help if you need it, and let your wife see what it’s like to enjoy your own party.
An additional suggestion is to hire a teenager to help, so you can both have an extra pair of hands to assist.
DEAR AMY: Your advice to “Pal,” who was uncomfortable with a friend inviting himself over, was way off. You suggested he make his wife the “fall guy.” I have been the “fall guy” many times, and it just makes me look like a selfish shrew. Plus — that is passive-aggressive. Why can’t he just be straightforward and say, “Sounds great, but maybe another time.”
No Fall Gal
DEAR GAL: I was being (somewhat) sardonic. Mainly, I wanted “Pal” to emphasize to his friend that he is not the only person impacted by a visit. Thank you for your perspective.