Dear Amy: About a month ago my husband and I invited two other couples, who are friends of ours, over for dinner.
I had the table laid out nicely with our best china and sterling silver flatware. During dinner one of our companions asked if the flatware was sterling. I replied that it was.
She said, “Well, don’t be surprised if one of your forks goes missing!” To which I said, “You can try, but I count them after each use!”
Well, guess what! After a thorough search of my house, I realized one of my forks had gone missing!
Now how do I handle this?
Dear Upset: Your friend’s comment seems to have manifested an unfortunate coincidence.
Your choices now are:
To accuse your friend of (possibly) taking your fork.
To launch a podcast detailing the crime and your investigation.
Or to go to any number of online sources (replacement services or auction sites) and order a replacement fork to match your pattern.
There is some likelihood that the minute you get the shipping notification, your other fork will turn up. Then you’ll have an extra!
Dear Amy: I recently found out details of my wife’s family secrets – that her grandfather committed horrible sexual abuse against his own children. He was never prosecuted (or even accused).
This happened back in the ’30s and ’40s when no one spoke of such things. In fact, everyone acts like nothing ever happened. They only speak vaguely about him.
I’m not sure how much my wife or her siblings actually know about this. I found out through conversations with a distant cousin.
I’ve tried to bring it up with my wife, but she shut me down and does not want to discuss anything.
Her parents are both deceased, but according to the cousin, they were not willing to discuss anything with her, either.
It’s very complicated, devastating and sad for me.
My heart aches for her siblings and the way they grew up (the father was alcoholic, and the mother very manipulative and emotionally distant).
I’m wondering if I should try to bring up the subject with them (I’m pretty close to all seven of them), or to at least let them know that I know.
I just don’t want to be the one to disclose any details they don’t yet know about. And, yes, I have every reason to believe the abuse actually happened.
What should I say, if anything? I’ve always felt they had an exclusive bond, and there are things I’m not included in.
No Longer In The Dark
Dear No Longer: If a distant cousin of your wife’s family knows about this and took the time to detail this abuse to you, then I wonder why this cousin hasn’t also contacted family members.
I also have to wonder how (and why) this distant cousin is in possession of details and facts about abuse that happened almost a century ago.
You should encourage the cousin to contact your wife and/or her siblings, so they can decide whether to hear about these allegations.
If the cousin has contacted family members and reported the abuse to them, then the individuals receiving this knowledge have the right to respond however they choose, including deciding to try to ignore it, sweep it under the rug, hold it closely in their own hearts, discuss it with each other, or seek professional help to try to come to terms with it.
They also have the right not to discuss this with you.
Siblings often share a very close bond, and – depending on the dynamic and age-range – those who had a tough upbringing can command a special bond brought on by their shared survivorship.
It is obvious that you care very much about your wife and her family members. I hope you urge her toward counseling, where she could work through her own upbringing and then perhaps work backward, discussing the abuse allegation and the generational trauma it may have inspired.
Dear Amy: I was so disappointed in your answer to “Frustrated in Colorado,” the people whose mail was opened accidentally by a neighbor.
At least the neighbor was honest about this.
Why were they so paranoid? Why are you?
The only reasonable suggestion you made was for them to switch to online banking and bill paying.
Dear Upset Reader: I wouldn’t describe these people as “paranoid,” but on two occasions important financial statements were opened by their neighbor.
Scores of readers have reported similar situations.
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com 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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