DEAR AMY: My 50th high school reunion is coming up. I’ve had so much fun catching up with people I haven’t seen in decades on our class’ social media page.
Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
I’m a married woman and have been writing to both men and women from my graduation class.
One guy I caught up with used to work with me back in the early ’70s. Since reconnecting, he and I have shared lots of thoughts via email.
He lives in a different state and told me he has a great wife, three kids and five grandchildren. I’m happily married, too.
He was thrilled to be remembered and said he couldn’t wait to see me again. We exchanged photos of ourselves posing with our spouses.
He and his wife were in town last month and we three planned to meet for breakfast (my husband couldn’t join us because he was working).
He told me that he couldn’t wait to hug me! I said I’d hug both him and his wife.
The day before they came here, he backed out. He then emailed me, saying that he wouldn’t want his wife to have a relationship with a man like we’ve had through email.
What relationship? We never even dated in high school! I expressed my hurt to him. He won’t even respond.
Should I take this personally, or just write it off as a possible insecurity on his part? And if they do come to our reunion, I don’t know how to approach him.
Hurt in Michigan
DEAR HURT: The way I read this, your former classmate is expressing regret that he stepped over the line in terms of communicating privately with you. It seems likely (to me, anyway), that he developed an attraction to you. It’s possible that his wife discovered his communications with you, including his eagerness to hug you.
He is admitting that his feelings and behavior crossed the line, and that if his wife engaged with an old classmate in this way, he would be uncomfortable. He made a mistake and was honest about it.
You should have responded that you understand and appreciate his honesty, not that you are wounded.
You seem naive about how emotional relationships can develop online, but what happened here is a perfect example.
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High school reunions are like those old petri dishes in bio class, but instead of growing microbes, they are teeming with old feuds, crushes and decades of unexpressed (or long-buried) emotions.
Proceed with caution, and don’t blame someone else for putting the brakes on.
DEAR AMY: I’m a 14-year-old sister. My brother, who is 10, is in the fifth grade.
Recently, my brother received a Kindle as a present. I got one at around the same age.
Even at his age, some of his classmates have phones. When I was his age I was desperate to communicate with my friends, but now that I’m older, I understand and respect my parents’ choice not to give me a phone until high school.
At one point, I downloaded the messaging app Kik, but my mom made me delete it. The app allows you to communicate with friends, but also complete strangers.
Now, my brother has the app. He has told me, but not our parents.
I snooped and saw that he’s only talking to two friends and it’s pretty innocent, but I still worry.
If I tell my mom, she will make him delete it, but I want him to trust me. I’m conflicted on what to do. Should I just pretend I don’t know, or tell my mom?
DEAR SISTER: You should tell your brother to delete the app, and explain to him why. Don’t come down on him like a ton of bricks; explain to him that when you were his age, you made the exact same choice, but it isn’t a good one because this is an app where strangers can contact you. He is vulnerable. You are an important part of his media awareness, so stay open and available to him.
You should ask your mother to sweep his device for apps, the way she did with yours. Commonsensemedia.org has a list of recommended apps for kids.
DEAR AMY: “Lonely Lady” described being divorced, but also missing her ex-husband. Amy, this is exactly the way I felt when I first got divorced. No one wants to hear that you can miss someone who was unkind to you. I appreciated this acknowledgment.
DEAR RECOVERED: I went through this, too. Divorce marks the end of a state of being. It is normal to grieve and to miss your spouse.
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