Dear Amy: I live with a roommate who is in her 60s and heterosexual. I am in my 30s and a lesbian.
Recently she informed me that she was going to be hosting a male companion for dinner, drinks and dancing. I had plans and asked her if she wanted me to sleep elsewhere or if she wanted to text me when he was gone. She said to come home anytime.
I returned home to a car in the driveway and the lights off. I went inside to music blaring. I grabbed my dog to take her outside and noticed my roommate’s bedroom door was closed. I then went into my room and tried to ignore the music and go to bed.
I am not sure if I should address the awkwardness of that night. I specifically tried to avoid the situation by asking if I should stay gone but I feel like it went straight over her head.
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I will be moving out in a couple months and wonder if I should keep quiet to avoid ruining our friendship?
Dear Awkward: Your roommate had a late-night visitor. She gave you advance notice, and – other than the music blaring when you returned home – this occurrence doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on you.
You don’t mention any mutual prohibition to having overnight guests, but if her behavior – or her guest’s – caused problems for you, you should definitely mention it. Otherwise, her evening of dinner, drinks, and dancing, seems more an opportunity for a “high five” than awkwardness between roommates.
Dear Amy: When I was growing up, my mother was extremely abusive to my siblings and me. Our father was out of the picture. She put us through hell. She struggled with untreated mental illness and prescription drug addiction, along with other sick behaviors. When we were in our teens it was so bad that social services took us away from her for about a year. She never got better.
I never hid my dislike for my mom from my friends, even as an adult.
She died recently at the age of 91.
I was really conflicted when she died. I thought I would be relieved, but I wasn’t. I think I was mourning the mother I never had, while still trying to make peace with the one I had.
When she died, very few of my friends acknowledged this loss. I know how awkward it must have been for others to know how to respond to me. Maybe they didn’t know what would be appropriate to say. One of my best friends has yet to offer a single word of condolence.
I would like your readers to know that no response is not the way to go. The best responses I received were something like, “Sorry for your loss. Wishing you peace.”
Wishing me peace touched my soul. I am grateful to those who responded to my mom’s passing, because so few people understood how to respond, which only added to my confusion and grief.
Dear Grieving: You are experiencing a profound loss. And I suspect that you are currently grieving the loss of all that your mother denied you throughout your life.
I find that people who aren’t as close to the grieving person sometimes have an easier time expressing sympathy. Social media is crowded with death announcements and the attendant expressions: “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
People who are closer to you know how troubled this relationship was, and so they might not feel comfortable offering a generalized (if sincere) platitude. But you are absolutely right, that some acknowledgment is necessary, if only in order to invite you to try to describe your own feelings. Saying something, even something like, “I’m not sure what to say,” is better than no acknowledgment.
I hope you will be able to tell your close friend that you would like the opportunity to discuss this loss with her.
Dear Amy: I couldn’t believe your “advice” to “In Love in the South.” This 20-year-old wanted to get married, but she was already living with her boyfriend. So tell me, what’s his incentive to want to get married? He’s already getting what he wants without it!
Dear Old Fashioned: This is the familiar “why buy the milk if you can get the cow for free” argument. My preference is that all adults should remain as independent and self-sufficient as possible, whether or not they get their milk for free.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.