Dear Amy: A few years ago, one of my former school teachers died suddenly and unexpectedly.
We were all surprised and saddened by this occurrence.
I recently posted a memory about him on the anniversary of his death.
Not too long after, a former classmate reached out to me asking me to call her. She informed me that the teacher had molested her and that it went on for quite some time.
I believe her because I recall feeling back then that something was off about their interactions.
I am now in charge of planning a class reunion.
One person on the committee has expressed a desire to pay homage to deceased teachers and classmates. This teacher’s absence would be conspicuous. I know what happened to my classmate is not common knowledge. I do not want to include this man in a memorial.
How should I address this with my committee?
Dear Worried: My understanding from your question is that you don’t want to bring up this allegation to others in the group because (at least in part) it would violate the privacy of this teacher’s victim.
You should ask the fellow classmate who reached out to you for guidance regarding this memorial: Would she be comfortable if others included him in the memorial to other teachers?
I shared your question with a spokesperson at The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN.org), who responds: “It’s important to respect every survivor’s privacy. Instead of telling your committee about your classmate’s allegations, offer an alternative suggestion, like explicitly honoring the deceased students, not the faculty, and then offering a moment of silence for beloved teachers, without naming names.”
Dear Amy: I am an attractive, single, well-educated woman.
Recently, “Steve,” whom I dated (for two years) decades ago, contacted me. We had not seen each other for 30 years. We have been getting along very well and communicating daily. We live on opposite coasts of the country, but plan to get together soon.
Steve tells me that he loves me and wants us to be together. I love him, too.
However, Steve continually talks about his past lovers, and still keeps in touch with some of them. I usually say nothing. However, he referred to one of his past lovers as: “The one I was most serious about after you moved away.” It really hurt my feelings and made me feel like I meant nothing to him (even though he dated her after I moved).
I calmly tried to explain to him that his comment about him being the “most serious about her” made me feel bad. He said, “Do I have to be walking on eggshells from now on?”
I feel bad about all of this. I realize that this is MY problem, but how am I supposed to handle his constant comments about his past lovers?
I really doubt that he would be thrilled if I said something like, “Remember Hank? He was the one that I was the most serious about after you.”
— Too Much Information
Dear TMI: Your long-ago lover, “Steve,” contacted you, just as he has contacted other former flames. You should assume that this is how he rolls. You should also assume that he might have a long-distance emotional engagement with other exes similar to the one with you.
It seems reasonable for you to ask him not to wax on about previous relationships. Your current dynamic is triggered by a combination of his insensitivity and your over-sensitivity and insecurity.
On the one hand, his openness about previous relationships could be an important component of you two reacquainting. On the other hand, his declaration that you are forcing him to “walk on eggshells” is insensitive, given your emotional vulnerability.
Proceed warily. Any long-distance relationship contains more than the usual number of romantic and emotional risks. Until you two meet in person and develop an intimate level of trust and agree to exclusivity, you should listen carefully and take very seriously all of his statements concerning previous relationships, as well as his propensity to accuse, rather than reassure, you.
Dear Amy: I didn’t like your response to “Upset,” the woman who claimed that it bothered her greatly when her husband’s parents gave more gifts to his siblings than to him. What kind of jerk sits there counting the gifts?
— Also Upset
Dear Upset: When you are sitting in a group, taking turns opening gifts, it becomes quite obvious when there is an imbalance. I agree that counting does not help anyone.