Dear Amy: Maybe I’m out of conscience, or maybe I’m just lucky, but either way, I’d like to hear from you.
I met a married man over a year and a half ago, knowing he was not going to change his situation. I didn’t expect that either.
Our privacy has sometimes been physical.
He often takes care of me, giving me money, food and gifts. He is committed to doing even more because I truly face a myriad of issues that I am actively working to resolve.
With the pandemic, times are even tougher.
I have health problems and I live on a part-time job and on disability insurance.
I used to be very uncomfortable accepting these gestures from him, but as he said on several occasions, “I help my friends. And that’s one way I can help you.
Of course, this is all done in secret.
He neither asks nor expects anything in return. He is considerably older than me. I truly appreciate it. Our friendship went through some trials, like his wife who understood him / us. He also fell ill with COVID. I had nightmares for weeks before I found out he was okay.
We had a long conversation the other day and decided we didn’t want to end our friendship.
And I discovered in my 40+ years that I had never had someone who gives me so much. I am a woman who has suffered abuse throughout my life.
What do you think? Do I keep this friendship alive and continue to accept his help?
– A reader
Dear reader, you are presenting this as if you are faced with a decision, and yet you are declaring that you have no intention of changing your behavior.
I am not going to tell someone who is as needy as you present to yourself that they may not accept money and gifts from a generous friend during an extremely difficult time.
However, the fact that this man is married and you have a secret relationship means that whatever he gives you (time, attention, money and gifts) will not be given to someone else, namely his wife. or another family. members, non-secret friends or worthy organizations.
You say that neither of you believe that this gift comes with conditions, and yet it does. Without adultery, this relationship would not exist.
In terms of both conscience and luck, I would say you have a deficit of both.
Dear Amy: I have acquaintances from elementary and high school who have held monthly Zoom meetings to connect. We discuss politics, books, travel and personal news.
While I sometimes enjoy these discussions, I feel obligated to attend.
I’m not friends with and can’t even remember some of those classmates and personally I have nothing in common with them.
I’m not anti-social and I like to remember sometimes, but most of the time I’m irritated that everyone is talking to each other.
And of course, invariably there will be a few individuals who monopolize the chaotic discussions.
How can I politely decline these invitations? I don’t mind attending some, but I don’t like the pressure of always being there.
After a full day of working from home, I would like to relax.
– Zoom out
Dear Zoomed Out: When you receive an “invitation” to a Zoom meeting, it usually comes in the form of a mass email. You either “accept” by joining the Zoom call, or you “decline” by simply not joining the call.
A Zoom social invitation sent to dozens of people does not require any prior RSVP.
You can join and “mute” your video and audio and listen while you do housework, or you can just ignore the invitation email and live your life, just like you did before Zoom (or the pressure of joining a video conference with people you barely know) has entered our lives and our living rooms, which, checking my calendar, I realize that was less than a year ago.
What a long, strange year it has been.
Dear Amy: I don’t agree with your description of Harvard graduates “being notoriously sensitive to their brand being diluted by hoi polloi”. (In reply to “Fan, but not Alum in Chicago”.)
On the contrary, I and many of my classmates feel a sense of pride in seeing someone (whether affiliated with Harvard or not) wearing Harvard clothing. I hope you won’t leave your readers with such a negative impression.
– A Harvard graduate
Dear graduate: My comment was intended to be fun. Thanks for straightening me up.