Dear Amy: I have been in a 20-year relationship with a wonderful man who has been there for me — through thick and thin.
We raised my children together and are now enjoying our grandchildren.
I have been very unhappy in the relationship for the last few years because I’ve fallen out of love with him.
I don’t want to have the grandbabies lose out on a wonderful grandfather because he will leave the country if we split up, but I want to be happy, too.
I’ve always liked women, but I didn’t want my mother to take my children away from me if I lived my true self, so when I met him, and we decided to get together, I honestly wanted to grow old with him.
Now my children are grown, and I feel like I deserve to be happy. I just don’t want to break a good man’s heart.
How can I have both things that I want?
— Lost in the Closet
Dear Lost: You may not be able to have everything you want.
Because of your life experience, you already know this, but the only way to find out what you can have is to start living your truth by being honest with your partner.
You will then have to deal with his reaction to your disclosure (he may already suspect that you are attracted to women).
I know of many instances where, relatively late in life, people choose to reconfigure their family system to accommodate less-traditional structures and situations.
There is no requirement that your partner should leave your family system — unless he wants to.
I hope you will find a way to sincerely convey your desire to remain in a loving relationship with him so that he can remain an important member of the family he has been a part of for the past two decades.
Dear Amy: I have planned a big party for my husband’s landmark birthday in two months.
This is going to be a sit-down dinner. We invited 80 family members and close friends. About half the guest list is family. The rest are friends.
I have had at least four people inform me that they will be bringing additional people, who they believed we would enjoy seeing.
My husband has also had two friends ask if they could bring one of their adult children and possibly their kids’ spouses.
He told them he would talk to me and get back to them.
We are so fortunate to have so many friends that want to share this celebration with us, but we had to draw a line, as we are not rich and also the venue has a limit of 85. We will be paying for this event.
Neither of us want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but isn’t it rude and presumptuous to invite people to someone else’s party?
What should we do?
Should we just go along with it and hope we can accommodate everyone?
One person who wants to bring his adult son (because he really likes my husband) made a snide remark about paying for their dinners.
Please advise me. I really don’t know what to do.
— Losing Sleep
Dear Losing Sleep: The last time this happened to me (and it happens to all hosts), I also lost sleep over the question of how to respond to people who wanted to bring extra guests — some of whom were people I’d never met.
And then one day I woke up and decided that it was “no” day.
I told people, “I’m so sorry — but it won’t be possible for you to bring an extra guest, but I hope you’ll still be able to come. Just let me know.”
Every single person responded with a version of this: “OK, no problem. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask!”
What people don’t realize is that when they ask, they shift the burden onto an already nerve-wracked host.
Deliver your response quickly and cheerfully. Understand, too, that some people will drop out at the last minute, and some will bring extras, anyway.
Dear Amy: “At a Loss in Colorado” shared some biographical essays, and then got angry when her friend didn’t offer comments about her writing.
While I agreed with your response, I believe you left something out: This friend might not have read the writer’s work at all.
I know I wouldn’t.
Dear Hesitant: The risk of pressing your writing on someone is that they won’t like it — or even read it.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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