DEAR AMY: I broke up with my boyfriend of three years a few months ago. I thought we were working on things and were going to get back together. Well, we aren’t. He started sleeping with a close family friend and now, I believe, they are dating. This girl and I spent almost every summer together as kids, and she likes to refer to my family as hers. She previously dated my ex’s best friend. I feel beyond betrayed and devastated by their relationship. It has severed our families’ bond that goes back generations. I wanted my ex to move on and, in the end, it’ll let me move on as well, but it’s difficult with a feud going on between the families. At each family gathering, the situation is mentioned and everyone just gets upset all over again. When their “relationship” was discovered, he hid her in our old apartment when I stopped by to discuss our separation, i.e. belongings, our dog, finances, etc. An hour later, she posted a lot of harmful things on Facebook indirectly pointed toward me. To avoid more drama, I blocked both of them from all forms of social media, so I could have some peace of mind. Yesterday, she messaged my mother and requested to “clear the air” with me. My mother understands how I feel and says I don’t have to contact her and that if she were in my situation, she wouldn’t do so. Amy, what should I do? Do I accept her offer to talk? More than anything, I want to tell her exactly what I think of her. How do I fully move on with this still weighing down on me?
DEAR BETRAYED: While you do not owe your former friend a meeting of any kind, It can be a good idea to accept another person’s offer to “clear the air.”
If you agree to meet with this former friend, you should start by listening — not talking. She might have a revelation or apology to offer. Listening also puts you in more of a power position because you can make rational choices about how — or whether — to respond.
Given everything you describe, I agree that telling this friend exactly what you think of her behavior is called for; I hope doing so makes you feel better, although it is not likely to change the outcome.
DEAR AMY: I was a bridesmaid in a very close friend’s wedding. The wedding took place out of state and on a weekday. Therefore, my spouse and I took vacation time, had to find a baby sitter for our younger children that could not attend, paid for our airfare, all hotel fees, all meals during the stay, taxi service, paid for my own bridesmaid dress and also the fee to have hair and makeup done professionally (required by the bride). We paid for our own meal for the “rehearsal dinner” and also pitched in for their pre-wedding party. I was not informed of all the costs involved when I was initially asked to be in her wedding. Do I still need to get her a wedding gift? I feel bad that I have not sent her one, but at the same time, a lot of money was spent for her big day.
DEAR WONDERING: Many of the expenses you cite: transportation, vacation time, baby sitters, bridesmaid’s dress, etc., are to be expected when you agree to be a bridesmaid at an out-of-town wedding. Some — such as having to pay for your portion of the rehearsal dinner — are surprising.
It would be kindest if brides everywhere told their attendants, “You are doing so much — I consider your friendship to be your gift,” and yet brides seldom seem to say that, although brides traditionally give their bridesmaids a token gift of thanks (I hope your friend did this for you).
Because you are feeling bad about the lack of a gift, then you should probably send one. I suggest a framed candid photo of the bride with her bridesmaids, if you have one.
DEAR AMY: You advised “Wannabe Fiancee” to present her live-in boyfriend with an ultimatum, which reminded me of my own situation. When my now ex-wife presented me with this ultimatum, I wish I had followed my own instincts and resisted it. I didn’t want to get married, but I wasn’t ready to leave the relationship. Our marriage didn’t last very long.
DEAR BEEN THERE: This topic is a rich one and I appreciate the honest responses.