Originally Published: June 16, 2018 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: Not long ago, I got out of a relationship with an ex who was sometimes physically abusive to me. It was a nasty relationship with an even nastier breakup. And though I can now look back at it as a blessing in disguise, I can’t deny the fact that it broke my heart and soul into a million pieces and has left a lot of emotional scar tissue. Anyway, a close friend of mine, “Pam,” recently mentioned that she sees my ex and his girlfriend (the woman he was cheating on me with) fairly often and is on friendly terms with both of them. She even told me that she and this girl have had several one-on-one conversations about how they would like to be friends but can’t because of me. It was bordering on accusatory; I felt as if I was supposed to thank her.
Annie, I would never put someone in a position to choose one friend over another. But Pam did not know either of these people before this. In fact, she helped pick up the pieces and put me back together after the relationship blowup. I just don’t understand why she would actively grow friendlier and friendlier with my ex and his girlfriend. I told her that I was confused and hurt by this information, and she just didn’t seem to get it at all and thought I was being overdramatic.
I don’t expect my friends to punch my ex and the “other woman” in the face when they see them, but I also wouldn’t expect them to actively initiate a friendship with them. Am I being selfish? Is there a proper way to handle this? -- Wish It Didn’t Bother Me
Dear WIDBM: Though you can’t make rules for your friends, you can make rules for you and your mental health. One of those rules might be to not spend time with people who actively associate with your abuser -- not to punish them but to protect yourself. You can explain as much to Pam by saying, “To be honest, this makes me very uncomfortable. I can’t dictate whom you’re friends with, and I won’t stand in the way of this, but I also can’t give it my blessing, if that’s what you’re looking for. I need to move forward and heal myself emotionally, and that means keeping a safe distance from the person who abused me.”
Dear Annie: You asked for others to write in about options folks have chosen for senior living. My folks are in their 90s, and they considered a senior living facility. Ultimately, it would have been very expensive and impractical for them. So they chose another route: aging in place — but not with us.
Aging in place is becoming very popular. Many seniors who find they need help with more and more tasks want to stay in a familiar environment. Caregivers can be hired — from once a week to full time — and may be similar in cost to a facility. In our situation, we were lucky enough to be able to purchase the house next door. We made a gate and pathway between the two houses. Now they have visits from family every day. They are secure knowing that they will live out their years among family but in their own home. Aging in place was the best choice for their situation.— Delighted Daughter in CA
Dear Delighted Daughter: What a blessing, both for you and for them. Thanks for sharing your experience.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.