Annie's Mailbox: Week of July 12

Annie's Mailbox

Dear Annie:

“Lindsay” and I dated for 2 1/2 years. Our breakup wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t a walk in the park, either. I had just packed up my life and moved across the country with her to relocate for her job, and a week after we got there, she dumped me. I was blindsided. It took a while to pick myself back up, but eventually I did, and I can look back and honestly say I’m glad we broke up. I’ve made a lot of progress that I don’t think I would have been motivated to do otherwise. Our breakup allowed me to move to a city that is better for my career.

Fast-forward to today, three years later. Lindsay and her husband (she’s married now) recently relocated to my city. (Her husband works in a field that’s similar to mine.) She’s reached out a few times, asking whether I’d like to come over for dinner with the two of them. I’ve been putting it off, basically just saying, “Maybe soon!” The other day, she texted me that they’re having trouble making friends here. I wasn’t sure what to say back, so I just said to give it time, that it took me a few months to make any friends here, too. I think they were hoping I would introduce them to people.

Annie, I wish her and her husband the best, but I just can’t bring myself to want to spend time with them or to introduce them to my friends. It’s not out of spite or jealousy or anything. I’m seeing a woman I’m crazy about. I have a great group of friends out here. I’m genuinely happy with where I am in life. A buddy of mine suggested that I should stop holding on to the past and just treat Lindsay as I would any friend. I definitely feel I’ve forgiven Lindsay in my heart — but do I really have to be friends with her? — Want to Do the Right Thing

Dear Want to Do the Right Thing: 

You’re not obligated to be the social coordinator for Lindsay and her husband just because they’re new to the city. They are adults and can figure it out. You did. Keep things cordial, as you have been, and go on with your life. You can forgive and forget, but it doesn’t mean you have to be friends.

Dear Annie:

We embraced with enthusiasm your printed suggestion from a reader to deploy glass jars with water in them to ward off our dogs’ habit of peeing in places where we would prefer they do not. Now every morning, we are greeted with a small puddle in the concave bottom of each inverted jar. It appears my Boston terriers now believe we have provided them with a target for their business. Epic fail.

— Joe and Laurie in Greensboro

Dear Joe and Laurie: 

I was curious to hear how that reader’s suggestion worked out. I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t. Better clean up that failed experiment and ditch the jars before your terriers become accustomed to them.

Dear Annie:

This is for “Janice in Texas,” who noticed that the artificial flowers she sets on family graves go missing. It is possible that the cemetery caretakers remove them or that they are being stolen. I have seen that happen a lot.

I started doing something a few years ago that takes care of that issue. I buy fresh flowers at the grocery and cut the tops off the stems. Then I scatter the flower heads on the gravesite. Your visit has been established; the dead have been honored; and it is not likely that anyone will pick up your flowers to plunk on another grave.

— Works for Me

Dear Works for Me: 

This sounds like a lovely ritual to honor loved ones. Thank you for sharing.

Dear Annie:

These are some thoughts for “Where Is the Love?” — the family with a child with autism out at a restaurant. When the people at the table next to the family complained about his “sounds,” I think his dad was right to start off by saying, “He has autism.”

I would have added, “Our son JT (the name personalizes him) has autism, and this is how he communicates. And he’s telling us he’s having so much fun at this restaurant! So we thank you ahead of time for your compassion. He used to not be able to express himself at all, so it’s wonderful for us to know when he is happy.”

— Sue

Dear Sue: 

Thank you for the helpful suggestions. Way to keep things positive.