Dear Amy: I started dating my husband in 2012. Now we have been married for six years.
We have both been married in the past and have adult children. He and his ex had been married for 13 years. He has two boys whom I helped raise. They are adults now.
My husband’s ex-wife is a wonderful person, she really is. She is very close to my mother-in-law and lives her own life, which is fine.
My problem is that I’ve just started meeting “family” and I still don’t know them all.
My husband’s ex is always invited whenever there is a family function on his side. I feel like no one will ever know me because she is still always present at all the functions.
We have a bachelorette party to go to and she’s invited to that too.
I personally don’t have a problem with him, but I would like to experience family things with just that family.
am i getting too much?
Beloved wife: Your husband’s ex has been very close with his family – and this can be a good outcome for families who can manage it. Most can’t.
But think of it this way: If she were a sister-in-law or close family friend who was present at every family gathering, her presence wouldn’t stop you from getting to know everyone more than the presence of another person.
Basically, I’m suggesting that you ignore his status as your husband’s ex, and focus on your own best behavior.
Stay calm, stay calm, ask good questions, and let your in-laws see your glow.
You will further strengthen these relationships by hosting some of your in-laws at your home in small groups (it is not necessary to invite your husband’s ex). Gradually, by abstaining from these large gatherings, you will build on the experience with them in person.
Dear Amy: I know you are an animal lover, and so I appreciate your perspective on this.
I am a veterinarian and I always express my sincere condolences when a client has lost a pet. I’ll send a card, donate to an animal charity, and often follow up with an email or phone call.
Recently I lost my beloved dog and am a little surprised by the reactions of people I have known for many years.
Very few have expressed their condolences. The general view has been that I should “get used to it.”
Amy, a veterinarian never gets used to it. It’s such a helpless feeling to not be able to fix your pet, even when you logically know that every effort has been made.
I’m trying not to have hard feelings on this, but it’s hard.
Dear Grace: I am so very sorry. Every person who has said goodbye to their beloved pet mourns the loss of a companion and friendship bond that is so hard to describe, but it should be easy to understand. Losing this connection causes a special kind of heartbreak.
I will quote the late great poet Mary Oliver, whose collection “Dog Songs: Poems” (2015, Penguin) is a gentle, poignant and funny tribute to the dogs that romanced her life:
“Because of the joy of the dog, our own increases. This is no small gift.”
You shouldn’t interrupt your own grief by educating humans about the loss of animals, and yet – if the people in your world aren’t giving you what you need right now, perhaps you should tell them.
You might say, “My own experience treating animals has never hardened my heart to the suffering and death of any pet—and certainly my own dog. I’ve never gotten used to such harm. And I hope you figure it out. In fact, I could use a little TLC myself right now.”
Dear Amy: I read with interest your response to “Greg in Minnesota”, who was concerned about the increasing pollution caused by persons idling cars in parking lots.
The author mentions knocking on the criminal’s window to confront them.
If I were giving him advice, in addition to the stats you mentioned, I’d say “don’t”!
You don’t know what you are facing. Are they angry, frustrated, drunk, drug addicts, carrying guns? You don’t know how they will react when confronted!
Dear Concerned: Absolutely! Based on the wording of his letter, I assumed that Greg was no longer facing people in person. I certainly hope so.
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow him on Twitter @askingamy or on Facebook.